Kaiser Family Foundation Study Contradicts Insurance Industry Claims
The American Trial Lawyers Association
Posted October 17, 2005
Slow Growth in Malpractice Payments Outpaced by Physician Increase
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation study finds that medical malpractice
payments have been growing at a slow rate, while the number of practicing
doctors has been on the rise. The study supports the conclusions of
numerous other studies on malpractice payments, including a new study
by researchers at Dartmouth College, which found that slow growing
malpractice payments had remained under 0.3% of health care spending
for over ten years.1
Similarly the Kaiser Family Foundation study found:
Total malpractice payments increased by only 1.7% annually between
1991 and 2003, when adjusted for medical care inflation, and have
actually fallen an average of 4% per year since 2001.
At the same time, the number of physicians rose 31%, from 623,378
in 1992 to 814,909 in 2003.
The stable frequency of malpractice payments, combined with the
increase in the number of practicing physicians, produced a 25
% decrease in the average number of claims per physician.
By 2003 the average number of claims had dropped to 1.88 for
every 100 physicians.
The study's lead author, Peter Budetti, said, "For most doctors,
there is a perception of a serious problem. [But] the likelihood of
having a claim paid on your behalf over the years has diminished."2
- Amitabh Chandra, Shantanu Nundy, Seth A. Seabury,
The Growth of Physician Medical Malpractice Payments: Evidence from
the National Practitioner Data Bank, Health Affairs, May 31, 2005
- Los Angeles Times, 6/1
Copyright © 2005 ATLA
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