Medical malpractice claims drop, obstetrics still a high-risk costly specialty

January 1, 2008

A report released at an American Society for Healthcare Risk Management conference found that the frequency of medical malpractice claims dropped between 1991 and 2005.

A report released at an American Society for Healthcare Risk Management conference found that the frequency of medical malpractice claims dropped between 1991 and 2005. Based on data from 357 healthcare facilities in 41 states, the report cited tort reform, medical malpractice caps on awards, a focus on quality improvement, and the discouragement of frivolous lawsuits as reasons behind the decline.

The report found that obstetric units accounted for the most expensive claims in hospitals, according to Modern Healthcare (10/8/2007). Obstetrics accounted for 14% of claims, and 32% of the dollars paid in claims. Hospitals paid an average of $365,477 for an obstetric claim from 2000 to 2005-more than double the average payment of $181,191 for claims involving acute-care units.