From: Health Affairs.org
Using the tort system to enforce aspirational standards of care may inhibit achieving greater patient safety.
by Michelle M. Mello, David M. Studdert, and Troyen A. Brennan
The Leapfrog Group, a consortium of large employers, aims to use its collective purchasing power to motivate hospitals to implement particular measures designed to improve patient safety and the quality of care. While these criteria are meant to be purely aspirational, and while Leapfrog's effort is praiseworthy, we caution that the articulation of these standards of care may have unintended legal consequences. Efforts by aggressive medical malpractice attorneys could rapidly transform Leapfrog's standards from marketplace advantages for compliant hospitals to performance expectations required by law. This undesirable potential outcome compounds the importance of selecting these standards with the utmost care.