The deterrent effect of tort law: Evidence from medical malpractice reform.

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Date: July 2022
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Document Type: Report; Brief article
Length: 279 words

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Abstract :

Keywords Medical malpractice; Torts; Healthcare quality; Patient safety Abstract We examine whether caps on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases affect in-hospital patient safety. We use Patient Safety Indicators -- measures of adverse events -- as proxies for safety. In difference-in-differences ("DiD") analyses of five states that adopt caps during 2003--2005, we find that multiple measures of non-fatal patient safety events worsen after cap adoption relative to control states. DiD inference can be unreliable with a small number of treated units. We therefore develop a randomization inference-based test for inference with few treated units but multiple correlated outcomes and confirm the robustness of our results with this nonparametric approach. We also provide evidence that the decline in patient safety is unlikely to be driven by patient selection. Author Affiliation: (a) Bates White Economic Consulting (b) Northwestern University, Pritzker School of Law and Kellogg School of Management * Corresponding author. Article History: Received 3 January 2021; Revised 26 April 2022; Accepted 15 May 2022 (footnote)[white star] We thank Michael Frakes, Todd Henderson, Cynthia Kinnan, Susan Lu, Michelle Mello, Patrick Romano, Burt Weisbrod, and participants in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Public Health Law Research Program Annual Meeting (2012), Midwest Health Economics Conference (2014), American Society for Law, Medicine and Ethics Conference (2014), Conference on Empirical Legal Studies (2014), and workshops at Hanyang University, Hebrew University Law Faculty, Northwestern Law School, and University of Chicago Law School for helpful comments and suggestions. (footnote)1 The opinions expressed represent only those of the author and do not represent the views or opinions of Bates White, LLC or of other Bates White employees or affiliates. Byline: Zenon Zabinski [] (a,1,*), Bernard S. Black (b)

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A709525730