Fear of lawsuits spurs more costly care, survey, experts find
A provider kept patients in hospice for years, overbilled for their care, charges state
Forty-two percent of primary care physicians who responded to a nationwide survey — published Tuesday in the Archives of Internal Medicine — responded that they make more referrals to specialists and order more tests than they would like to, “ideally,” according to the survey. The majority — 76% — said they do this out of fear of malpractice lawsuits.
That fear of litigation also is an issue for skilled nursing facilities, according to R. Tamara Konetzka, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of Chicago. In an Avalere Health-sponsored audio conference Tuesday, which discussed Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement alignment, Konetzka said she has seen similar concerns arise in interviews with long-term care directors of nursing and physicians. She said fear of lawsuits often spur SNFs to transfer residents to hospitals too frequently.
“The litigation issue overwhelms everything — which residents they're willing to admit, which issues they're choosing to deal with. [While] I suspect that it's different from state to state, it's an issue that needs to be addressed,” she added.