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Defensive Medicine Still Prevalent Despite Tort Reform
HealthLeaders Media

Laws in three states that raised the legal threshold for malpractice in emergency settings have done little to change the costly practice of “defensive medicine,” a RAND Corp. study shows.

A decade ago Texas, Georgia and South Carolina raised the civil malpractice standard used in emergency care to gross negligence. Lawmakers in those states believed that the higher standard would check the growth of malpractice lawsuits, and thus reduce the perceived need for expensive but medically unnecessary defensive procedures and services, such as the overuse of high-cost advanced imaging equipment.

The study, published this month in The New England Journal of Medicine, found no evidence that the laws are working as intended.