Caps don't deter defensive medicine

October 8, 2010

Even in states with economic damage caps in malpractice suits, physicians remain highly concerned about being sued, suggesting that tort reform proposals may do little to deter the practice of defensive medicine that contributes to unnecessary health spending, according to one study.

Even in states with economic damage caps in malpractice suits, physicians remain highly concerned about being sued, suggesting that tort reform proposals may do little to deter the practice of defensive medicine that contributes to unnecessary health spending, according to a study by researchers at the Center for Studying Health System Change in the September Health Affairs.

The organization surveyed 4,720 physicians who provide at least 20 hours per week of direct patient care. Between 60% and 78% of physicians agreed or strongly agreed that they will be involved in a malpractice case, feel lawsuit pressure, order tests to avoid a suit, ask for extra consultant opinions, and feel pressure to rely on technology.