Cost, Correlates and Effects of Malpractice Litigation in Family Practice Residency Programmes in the United States

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A survey of family practice residency programme directors in the United States was undertaken to look at the impact of malpractice and malpractice insurance on residency education. Of 385 programmes 276 (71.7%) responded to the 20 question survey. The results indicated a mean rate of 0.043 claims per resident or faculty member in the previous year. One-fifth of the respondents did not report the type of malpractice insurance retained for residents and over half did not report the cost of insurance for residents. Current problems with liability were most often related to the region of the country, number of visits to the family practice centre, the number of residents, the number of faculty, the type of faculty employer and the type of resident employer. Programmes which anticipated future problems with liability were most likely to be those with current problems. The areas identified as most concerning to residents included: obstetrics, cost of malpractice insurance, difficulty obtaining coverage, and the general anxiety created by malpractice litigation.



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