The costs of defensive medicine

By Carolyn M. Hettrich, MD, MPH; Richard C. Mather III, MD; Manish K. Sethi, MD; Ryan M. Nunley, MD; Amir A. Jahangir, MD, and the Washington Health Policy Fellows

Did healthcare reform miss an opportunity to cut costs, improve access, and increase patient safety?

A major area of concern for orthopaedic surgeons that was not addressed in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was substantive medical liability reform. Although direct expenditures on medical liability account for only a small fraction of healthcare spending, much more is spent on the direct and indirect costs of defensive medicine.

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