Medical Malpractice Claims Paid On Behalf Of U.S. Physicians Declined By 55.7%

162017_132140396847214_292624_nA study published online on March 27, 2017 in the respected medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that medical malpractice claims paid on behalf of physicians in the United States fell by 55.7% from 1992 to 2014. However, the mean compensation amounts paid for physician medical malpractice claims increased during said period, and the percentage of paid medical malpractice claims against U.S. physicians that exceeded $1 million also increased during the period studied.

The researchers analyzed data from the National Practitioner Data Bank regarding all paid medical malpractice claims against physicians reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank from January 1, 1992 through December 31, 2014. The researchers adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index – all of the referenced dollar amounts for the paid medical malpractice claims against physicians are in 2014 dollars.

The Study’s Findings 

The study found that from the period 1992 to 1996 to the period from 2009 to 2014, the rate of paid medical malpractice claims against physicians in the United States decreased by 55.7%: from 20.1 per 1,000 physician-years to 8.9 per 1,000 physician-years. The largest decrease was in pediatrics (75.8%): from 9.9 per 1,000 physician-years to 2.4 per 1,000 physician-years. The smallest decrease was in cardiology (13.5%): from 15.6 per 1,000 physician-years to 13.5 per 1,000 physician-years.

The study found that the mean medical malpractice payout for paid medical malpractice claims against U.S. physicians was $329,565, which was an increase of 23.3% (an increase from $286,751 for the 1992 to 1996 period to $353,473 for the 2009 to 2014 period). The largest increase was in pathology ($138,708): an increase from $335,249 for the 1992 to 1996 period to $473,957 for the 2009 to 2014 period. The smallest increase was in general practice ($17,431): an increase from $218,350 for the 1992 to 1996 period to $235,781 for the 2009 to 2014 period.

The most common allegation in the paid medical malpractice claims against physicians was diagnostic error, which was present in 31.8% of the paid medical malpractice claims (35,349 out of 111,066 paid medical malpractice claims). With regard to medical speciality, allegations of diagnostic errors ranged from 3.5% in anesthesiology (153 out of 4,317 paid medical malpractice claims) to 87.0% in pathology (915 out of 1,052 paid medical malpractice claims).

Medical Malpractice Claim Payments Exceeding $1 Million

The researchers found that 7.6% of the medical malpractice payments made on behalf of physicians in the United States exceeded $1 million (21,271 out of 280,368 paid claims), increasing from 6.2% in the 1992 to 1996 period (4,304 out of 69,617) to 8.0% in the 2009 to 2014 period (4,322 out of 54,081).

The study authors concluded: “Between 1992 and 2014, the rate of malpractice claims paid on behalf of physicians in the United States declined substantially. Mean compensation amounts and the percentage of paid claims exceeding $1 million increased, with wide differences in rates and characteristics across specialties. A better understanding of the causes of variation among specialties in paid malpractice claims may help reduce both patient injury and physicians’ risk of liability.”

Source

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This entry was posted on Thursday, March 30th, 2017 at 5:27 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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