Malpractice Liability for Physicians and Managed Care Organizations
NYU, Ctr for Law and Business Research Paper No. 03-21
78 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2003 Last revised: 17 Nov 2013
This Article provides an economic analysis of optimal negligence liability for physicians and Managed Care Organizations explicitly modeling the role of physician expertise and MCO authority. We find that even when patients anticipate the risks imposed on them, physicians and MCOs do not take optimal care absent sanctions. Markets and contracts do not provide optimal incentives because market prices are determined at the moment of contracting, but physician expertise and MCO authority depend on non-contractable actions taken post-contract. Negligence liability can induce optimal care if damage rules are optimal. Optimality requires that MCOs be held liable for both their own negligent treatment coverage decisions and for negligence by affiliated physicians. Moreover, we find that MCOs should be liable even when they do not exert direct control over physicians. Finally, we show that it may be optimal to preclude physicians or MCOs from obtaining liability waivers from patients, even when patients are fully-informed and waive only when it is in their interests to do so at that moment.
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