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April 27th, 2011

Litigation Doesn’t Improve Nursing Home Care, And Barney Frank Is Ready to Support Tort Reform

A new study reported by the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that  nursing homes providing excellent care are nearly as likely to be sued as those providing lesser care, putting the lie to personal injury lawyers’ long-time claim that their lawsuits work to improve care, not just their personal fortunes.

New York Times coverage noted, “If lawsuits were a quality-control measure, then lousy nursing homes would be sued far more often than good ones. Providing excellent care would prevent litigation.”

But that isn’t the case.  And as Forbes’ Daniel Fisher points out, the new study explodes the myth that lawsuits improve patient care.  “There’s no point to a system that administers punishment equally to the good and the bad, since neither can adjust their behavior to avoid it.”

As congressional budgeteers look to reduce health care spending, among other things, many will certainly point to this study to support meaningful medical liability reforms previously excluded from Obamacare legislation.  Even Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank now says he’s ready to talk tort reform, reports The Hill.  And if you can sit through some idle MSNBC morning prattle, here’s a video link to Frank’s comments, beginning at about the 4:10 mark.

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