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Conference Proceeding

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Positive defensive medicine occurs when physicians order additional tests or procedures primarily to avoid malpractice liability. This paper shows the degree of defensive medicine occurring across states is related to the malpractice environment in the states. As the environment changes due to malpractice tort reform, defensive medicine practices also change. This paper shows the existence of positive defensive medicine and how it adds to total health care expenditures for head trauma victims in 23 states in 2000. Moreover, given different malpractice environments across states, we witness variations in defensive medicine practices leading to differences in health care expenditures.


Originally presented October 1st, 2004 at the Association of Pennsylvania University Business and Economics Faculty (APUBEF) 27th Annual Meeting. Available online in the archives of the Northeastern Association of Business, Economics and Technology: