The New York Times reports that growth in medical malpractice claims is exaggerated:
For years, as hospitals have fought to protect the money they receive from the state, health care lobbyists have argued that the exceedingly high cost of medical malpractice insurance was a result of a runaway legal system that allowed juries to award huge judgments to victims of doctors’ mistakes.
But a new report from an independent government watchdog group suggests that those claims are exaggerated.
The New York Public Interest Research Group reviewed 15 years of federal data on medical malpractice payments and concluded that the amount of money paid for malpractice claims in New York has actually fallen in recent years, and that the number of overall claims has remained “remarkably stable.”
The report says that these findings raise doubts about claims by the health care industry that the state’s tort laws are in need of reform. Unknown factors appear to be behind the soaring medical malpractice insurance premiums, the report states.
“The claim being made by the medical lobby that this is a lawsuit crisis is just fear-mongering,” said Blair Horner, legislative director for the research group. “There obviously must be something else going on or the premiums wouldn’t keep going up. And someone’s got to figure out what that is.”
Another claim often made by the corporate lobby in trying to cripple the civil justice system is that medical malpractice claims force doctors to leave the state.
Further, the report’s findings also contradict another claim often made by hospital lobbyists and doctors’ advocates: that high malpractice premiums are driving doctors out of the state. In fact, the report states, the number of doctors practicing in New York has grown at a rate more than five times the rate of growth in the state’s population.
“If there are shortages,” the report says, “they are well hidden.” New York is third in the nation in the number of doctors per capita, the report states.
Click here to read the report: Contraindication: Federal Government Data Demonstrates That New York’s Medical Malpractice Insurance Hikes are Contrary to Payment Trends. In addition, if you would like to read further information about the myth-peddling regarding medical malpractice, Public Citizen has a terrific and comprehensive information center.