In 2011, the total cost of medical malpractice payments made on behalf of physicians dropped for the 8th year in a row, according to a report from Public Citizen.
The total value of those payments, in actual dollars, was $3.34 billion for the year. After adjusting for inflation, that figure was the lowest since the National Practitioner Data Bank started tracking malpractice payments in 1990, the report said.
The cost of premiums for doctors’ and hospitals’ liability insurance has also been declining – the total was $9.4 billion in actual dollars in 2010, the last year for which data are available. The cost of premiums can be considered a proxy for the total cost of medical malpractice litigation since it covers payments to victims, litigation defense costs, and insurers’ profits and administrative costs, Public Citizen suggested. The $9.4 billion spent in 2010 represents 0.36% of the national health care expenditure of $2.6 trillion.
"Between 2000 and 2011, the value of medical malpractice payments fell 11.9% while healthcare spending nearly doubled, increasing 96.7%" in unadjusted dollars, Public Citizen said.
Note: Based on data from the National Practitioner Data Bank and A.M. Best & Co.
Source: Public Citizen