Saturday, June 04, 2005

Dartmouth Study Says Jury Awards Not Responsible for Bump in Malpractice Insurance Premiums

A new study by Dartmouth economists, published May 31 in Health Affairs and entitled "The Growth of Physician Medical Malpractice Payments: Evidence from the National Practitioner Data Bank," suggests that jury awards are not the primary factor driving the recent spike in medical malpractice premiums. From the abstract:
We used data from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) to study the growth of physician malpractice payments. Judgments at trial account for 4 percent of all malpractice payments; settlements account for the remaining 96 percent. The average payment grew 52 percent between 1991 and 2003 (4 percent per year) and now exceeds $12 per capita each year. These increases are consistent with increases in the cost of health care. A preoccupation with data on judgments, extreme awards, or specific specialties results in an incomplete understanding of the growth of physician malpractice payments.
The Boston Globe has more. It was Bob Ambrogi who clued us in.


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Fed. R. Evid. 702: If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.