How Getting Sued Changes Practice

Written by Clay Smith

Spoon Feed
Physicians who had malpractice claims did not tend to move away but tended to leave practice altogether or downsize to a smaller practice setting.

Why does this matter?
Are physicians who get sued just moving on to greener pastures, placing new groups of patients at potential risk?  Let’s see…

Fresh start or just quit altogether?
Authors linked the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) and Medicare Data on Provider Practice and Specialty data sets to see what happened to physicians with malpractice claims.  There were nearly 500,000 physicians with almost 69,000 claims.  Physicians didn’t tend to move away from their initial practice location, but there was an association with leaving clinical practice that increased with increasing claims (9% increased odds with 1 claim; 45% increased odds with ≥5 claims).  They also tended to downsize into smaller practice settings, i.e. multi-physician to solo practice.

Source
Changes in Practice among Physicians with Malpractice Claims.  N Engl J Med. 2019 Mar 28;380(13):1247-1255. doi: 10.1056/NEJMsa1809981.

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Reviewed by Thomas Davis

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