Physicians with Multiple Malpractice Claims Move to Solo PracticesMay 3, 2019
Physicians who have medical malpractice claims against them often try to save their reputation by starting fresh in a new practice. While the common assumption is that they relocate to a new state to leave their tarnished reputation behind, they are more likely to stay put and either join a smaller practice or start a solo practice. In fact, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, they are as likely to move to a different state than physicians who have zero claims against them, but the odds of them moving into a solo practice are more than double. This raises safety concerns because solo practices tend to have less oversight than larger practices.
Congress passed the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986, which led to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). This was passed to prevent doctors with high numbers of malpractice claims from leaving the state and starting fresh in a new state. According to a professor of law and medicine at Stanford Law School, because solo practices are not as closely monitored as larger practices, and offer little to no access to fellow colleagues, this is not an ideal scenario for risky practitioners.
The professor and his colleagues reviewed data from the NPDB and the Medicare Data on Provider Practice and Specialty to track physicians’ movements to different states and practices based on their paid malpractice claims. They focused on physicians aged 35 to 65, who practiced in the United States from 2008 through 2015. They found the following results:
- There were 480,894 physicians who had 68,956 paid claims
- Close to 90 percent of physicians had no claims
- Nearly nine percent had one successful claim on their record
- Approximately 39 percent of all claims were from 2.3 percent of physicians who had at least two claims against them
Physicians with multiple malpractice claims are a potential safety risk for patients, which is concerning since doctors who have five or more paid claims were more than twice as likely to move to a solo practice. In some cases, physicians move to solo practices voluntarily, but other times, the hospital or practice may decide to sever ties with physicians who are claim-prone.
According to the study, physicians with successful claims continue practicing where they are, and do not suffer significant repercussions. There was no major decline in the number of patients they saw, although some doctors with four or more claims treat fewer Medicare patients. Ultimately, physicians can continue practicing despite having multiple malpractice claims because patients and referring physicians do not pay much attention to this information.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Medical Negligence
If you were injured while under the care of a physician who has multiple malpractice claims, contact the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will conduct a thorough investigation into your case and hold the negligent party liable for your injuries. Our skilled legal team will secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
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