Some states see decline in medmal payments, but...

March 1, 2005

Reports by state agencies in Massachusetts and Missouri found that the number of medical malpractice claims paid on behalf of physicians had fallen—26% in the last 2 years in Massachusetts and 11% in the last year in Missouri.

Reports by state agencies in Massachusetts and Missouri found that the number of medical malpractice claims paid on behalf of physicians had fallen-26% in the last 2 years in Massachusetts and 11% in the last year in Missouri. But insurance company officials warn that it's too early to tell if these statistics represent a downward trend or an anomaly, according to Medical Liability Monitor (12/04). Additional data were also reported:

In Massachusetts, the Board of Registration in Medicine found that the number of payments made by state physicians has been declining since 2001. However, the average payout per physician almost doubled-from $251,760 in 1994 to $431,106 in 2003. In addition, the specialties representing the highest percentage of physicians making medmal payments were ob/gyns (24.1%), gynecologists (20.7%), and neurological surgeons (16.2%).

In Missouri, the Department of Insurance found that the average payout for physicians increased just 2% in the last year to $211,502. The department also found that claims closed with payments against physicians fell to their second lowest level ever. Moreover, insurance premiums paid by state doctors rose 121% between 2000 and 2003, while actual payouts to injured patients increased just 14%.