Patients who undergo spine surgery in a community known to be an aggressive malpractice environment are likely to be hospitalized longer and incur higher charges, according to a study published recently in The Spine Journal.
Researchers from Louisiana State University in Shreveport and Dartmouth – Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH, examined the correlation of malpractice liability with unfavorable outcomes in spine surgery. Data were included for 707,951 patients undergoing spine surgery who were registered in the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database from 2005 to 2010. Measures of volume and size of the malpractice claim payments were created using data pulled from the National Practitioner Data Bank.
The researchers found a correlation for higher number of claims per 100 physicians in a state with increased hospitalization charges and length of stay. No correlation was seen for mortality. There was a correlation between larger magnitude of awarded claims and increased hospitalization charges and length of stay, according to the researchers.
An abstract and access to the full text of the study are available online at http://tinyurl.com/ps48zew.