Medical Malpractice Reform Measures and Their Effects

Robert B. Leflar

University of Arkansas School of Law

July 1, 2013

Chest, Vol. 144(1), pp. 306-318 (2013)

New rules and methods for medical injury dispute resolution have been launched in New Hampshire and New York, and demonstration projects are underway elsewhere. This article describes major medical malpractice reforms undertaken and proposed in recent years. Reforms are classified as (1) liability-limiting initiatives favoring health-care providers; (2) procedural innovations promoted as improving dispute resolution processes, such as patient compensation funds, “sorry” laws, disclosure and early offer laws, health courts, and safe harbor laws; and (3) major conceptual reforms to move liability away from physicians to hospitals or administrative no-fault compensation systems. Empirical evidence about the practical effects of already-implemented reforms, such as damage caps, is reviewed. In light of declining malpractice claim rates, heavier adverse impacts of damage caps on vulnerable groups (people who have severe injuries, who are elderly, and who are unemployed) and repeated findings of state law unconstitutionality, the rationale for nationwide damage caps is questioned. Attention to innovative reform proposals such as patient compensation funds, disclosure and early offer laws, safe harbor laws, enterprise insurance and no-fault compensation systems, is encouraged.

The full-text version of the article, including tables indicating the types of reform measures enacted in each state (and those found unconstitutional), is available by email from the author, or online from the publisher and copyright holder, the American College of Chest Physicians.

Keywords: malpractice, tort reform, patient compensation fund, disclosure and early offer, 'sorry' laws, safe harbor laws, health courts, no-fault compensation, malpractice claim rates, damage caps, non-economic damages

JEL Classification: I18, K13, K41

working papers series

Not Available For Download

Date posted: July 27, 2013 ; Last revised: August 5, 2013

Suggested Citation

Leflar, Robert B., Medical Malpractice Reform Measures and Their Effects (July 1, 2013). Chest, Vol. 144(1), pp. 306-318 (2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2298485

Contact Information

Robert B. Leflar (Contact Author)
University of Arkansas School of Law ( email )
1045 W. Maple St.
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States
479-575-2709 (Phone)
479-575-2053 (Fax)
Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 137

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo5 in 3.219 seconds