On December 27, 2012, New York City’s Comptroller, John C. Lui, issued the official City of New York Office of the Comptroller Claims Report Fiscal Year 2011 concerning all claims against the City of New York for Fiscal Year 2011 that totalled $550.4 million in payments for settlements and judgments in tort claims, with personal injury claims accounting for $535.1 million of the total and medical malpractice claims representing $130 million of the personal injury claims total (the costliest category of personal injury claim costs). The number of medical malpractice claims filed in FY 2011 (609) was the lowest in ten years — in FY 2010, the number was 657; in FY 2009, the number was 691; in FY 2008, the number was 704; and, in FY 2007, the number was 655.
Medical malpractice cases cost the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (“HHC”) $130 million in settlements and judgments for 263 cases in FY 2011, which is virtually identical to the cost in FY 2010, when $130.1 million was paid for 311 cases. In FY 2011, 83 tort cases were each resolved for $1 million or more. Medical malpractice settlements and judgments accounted for 33 of the 83 tort cases that settled for $1 million or more.
In FY 2011, the five HHC acute care hospitals for which the City paid the highest total amount for medical malpractice claims were Lincoln Hospital ($24.9 million); Kings County ($23.2 million); Jacobi Medical Center ($21.4 million); Elmhurst Hospital Center ($13.4 million) and Coney Island Hospital ($9.4 million).
From FY 2010 to FY 2011, seven hospitals experienced a decrease in the number of claims filed against them, and four hospitals experienced an increase. The seven hospitals which saw a drop in the number of medical malpractice claim filings were Elmhurst, Coney Island, Metropolitan, Jacobi/Bronx Municipal, Lincoln, Harlem, and Kings County. The four hospitals that experienced an increase in filings were Bellevue, Queens Hospital Center, North Central Bronx, and Woodhull.
With regard to HHC medical malpractice settlement activity for acute care hospitals, there were 249 medical malpractice claims resolved during FY 2011 (compared to 298 in FY 2010) with a total of $121.3 million paid in FY 2011 (compared to $129.5 million in FY 2010). The overall average amount paid per medical malpractice claim in FY 2011 was $487,000 (compared to $435,000 in FY 2010).
With regard to HHC medical malpractice filing activity for acute care hospitals, there were 528 medical malpractice claims filed during FY 2011, compared to 548 in FY 2010, with the largest increase experienced by Bellevue Hospital from FY 2010 (55) to FY 2011 (74) and the largest decrease experienced by Elmhurst Hospital (78 medical malpractice claims filed in FY 2010 compared to 49 in FY 2011).
The Comptroller noted that the number of tort claims against HHC has dropped 28% since FY 2001. Medical malpractice claim filings have dropped from a high of 889 in FY 2000 to 609 in FY 2011, the lowest number of new filings in the last 12 years. Settlement and judgment costs have also decreased significantly: in FY 2003, New York City paid a high of $195.4 million for medical malpractice claims but paid $130 million in FY 2011, the second lowest payout since FY 2000. The Comptroller believes that the likely reason that HHC has succeeded in containing claim costs is that, unlike other New York City entities, HHC is responsible for its own claim costs so it has invested in risk management and other initiatives that have led to a significant reduction in claim costs.
If you, a family member, a loved one, or a friend have been injured or suffered other losses as a result of medical malpractice in New York or in another location within the United States, you should promptly seek the advice of a New York medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state regarding the possible medical malpractice claim.
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