Sunday, April 19, 2009

AAJ Analysis Rejects "Fleeing Doctors" Myth

The American Association for Justice (AAJ) reports in its April 2009 issue of Trial magazine that its analysis of AMA data rejects the myth that doctors flock to states with "tort reform" measures in place. "The AMA statistics show that the number of doctors continues to rise nationwide and in every state. There are now twice as many doctors per capita than when the AMA began tracking physician numbers in the 1960s."

The AAJ reports that the "number of doctors has risen over the last five years in all states. Only in Alaska, Georgia, Montana, and Utah--all with medical malpractice damages caps--did the increase in doctors lag behind population growth." This nationwide growth includes medical specialities; the numbers of neursurgeons, ob-gyns, and emergency room doctors all increased over the last five years. "The analysis also found that the number of physicians per capita was 13% higher in states without caps" on damages. This finding is consistent with research from the Commonwealth Fund and the American College of Emergency Physicians, which found "health care quality and patient safety are far worse in states that have eliminated accountability by enacting tort 'reform' measures."

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