Maternity Care and Liability

Reviewing the best available evidence, this report shows that many widely held beliefs about maternity care and liability lack empirical support.

Maternity Care and Liability: Pressing Problems, Substantive Solutions summarizes the best available research about the impact of the health care liability system on maternity care, and policy strategies for improved functioning of the liability system in maternity care. Improved understanding of these matters can help transcend polarized discourse, guide policy intervention, and address persistent shortcomings.

The liability system is not serving well childbearing women and families and providers and payers of maternity care services. The report identifies seven aims for a high-performing liability system in this clinical context. It holds 25 improvement strategies that have been proposed and/or implemented up to these criteria and finds that 15 strategies have not been found to be effective in addressing needs of diverse stakeholders and/or are unlikely to do so. Ten strategies appear to have promise to improve liability matters across multiple aims. These health care, tort alternative, and liability insurance reforms are stronger candidates for demonstration, evaluation, and refinement to prevent injury or assist women, babies, and families when it occurs. They also hold promise for reducing liability-associated stressors of health professionals and improving the value of maternity care to payers. An appendix summarizes many important gaps in knowledge relating to maternity care and liability, and another provides summary fact sheets on key questions of interest to diverse stakeholders.

Report and Findings

Fact Sheets

Journal Articles