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Title:Medical malpractice and physician discipline: Lessons from Indiana
Author(s):Liu, Jing
Director of Research:Hyman, David A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hyman, David A.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Lawless, Robert M.; Robbennolt, Jennifer K.; Wexler, Lesley
Department / Program:Law
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Medical malpractice
Abstract:Using data from Indiana, I investigate the functioning of two health care quality assurance mechanisms: medical malpractice (“med mal”) claiming, and the physician licensing/disciplinary system. In the mid-1970s, Indiana adopted a comprehensive package of med mal reforms, including a medical review panel, a total damages cap, and a patient compensation fund (“PCF”). Indiana also reorganized its licensing/disciplinary system at roughly the same time. I evaluate the post-reform performance of the systems over the past forty years, and the extent to which the two systems overlap in targeting problematic doctors. Despite enacting comprehensive med mal reforms, Indiana experienced significant premium increases – comparable to those experienced in states that did not enact med mal reforms. However, litigation trends (i.e., claiming and payout rates) in Indiana do not explain the observed premium trends. In combination, this suggests that factors outside the tort system have a significant effect on med mal premiums. I also find evidence that disciplinary and med mal risks are systematically predictable, and that an increased number and size of past (paid) med mal claims predicts higher disciplinary risk. But, very few doctors are actually “tagged” by both systems. Past disciplinary actions lower a physician’s med mal risk in the short-run, but show no significant effect in the long-run. Although the med mal and disciplinary systems operate independently, and may have different priorities and goals, my findings suggest an obvious model for the interaction of the systems. My findings also indicate that physicians who end up targeted by both the med mal and disciplinary systems are not randomly selected.
Issue Date:2017-11-28
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Jing Liu
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-03-13
Date Deposited:2017-12

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