The Institute of Medicine (IOM) defines quality in healthcare as "the degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge" (Institute of Medicine, 2001, p. 232). The quality of obstetrical healthcare services across America may be in jeopardy as a result of the escalating problems associated with the current malpractice situation in the U.S. The goal of this study was to determine what impact these malpractice-related problems have on the quality of obstetrical healthcare services in the state of Michigan. These factors and others were explored by obtaining information from obstetrician/gynecologists who practice in Michigan on such malpractice-related topics as the cost of their professional liability (malpractice) insurance premiums, the risk of being named in a medical malpractice lawsuit, and their engagement in various defensive medicine practices. The research design was a simple descriptive, non-experimental, non-random, quantitative 8-question survey that was sent to 1000 ACOG Fellow and Jr. Fellow obstetrician/gynecologists in the state of Michigan and was administered online between November 2007 and January 2008. This study revealed that (a) the medical malpractice situation in the state of Michigan has not yet reached "crisis" level, although the potential exists, (b) the cost for professional liability insurance in Michigan is excessively high, and (c) Michigan's obstetrician/gynecologists are engaging in defensive medicine practices to varying degrees.
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