Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013
This Week's News
This Week's News
New AMA studies shine light on U.S. medical liability climate, trends
Two new studies from the AMA reveal recent improvement in the medical liability climate but underscore the uncertainty of whether positive trends will continue.
Analyzing medical liability insurance premiums from 2004 to 2012 gathered from the Annual Rate Survey Issues of the Medical Liability Monitor, the first report (available to AMA members) found that the medical liability climate for physicians is far more favorable than it was in 2004. While more than 80 percent of premiums increased in 2004, only about 15 percent increased in 2012. Premiums that did increase in 2012 did so by a smaller margin than at the beginning of the study period.
The study notes that it is unclear how long this positive trend might continue.
"Although decreases in premiums have become more common than increases," the study states, "they pale in comparison to the magnitude of the increases from the most recent liability crisis.
"Moreover, there has been an uptick in the occurrence of rising premiums in the last three years. This suggests that the medical liability market bears close monitoring to see what direction premiums will take in the near future."
A second study (also available to AMA members), which examines data from the Physician Insurers Association of America's Claim Trend Analysis, found that the average expense payments tied to professional medical liability claims increased by nearly 80 percent over the 2002–2011 period. More than 65 percent of claims in 2011 were dropped, dismissed or withdrawn. Of the 8 percent of claims decided by trial verdict, 89.7 percent were won by the defendant.
Also, view an AMA booklet for additional information about medical liability in the United States.