Medical Malpractice Payouts Rise In New York
More city-owned hospitals were named as defendants in medical malpractice claims in 2015 than in previous years, according to a recently released report by the New York City Comptroller’s Office.
Industry experts consider this development to be a significant one, since it has been since 2003 that medical malpractice payouts increased nationally. In the fiscal year 2013, there were 495 medical malpractice claims filed against city-owned hospitals. In 2015, that number rose substantially to 521. This figure does not include the number of malpractice claims filed against hospitals owned by other entities.
Recently released malpractice data
Although the report was released by the Comptroller’s Office, the data were compiled by Dieterich Healthcare, which is a medical liability insurance carrier and consulting company. Dieterich Healthcare compiled its information from the National Practitioner Data Bank – an information clearinghouse for the medical industry. The data reveal that across the country, medical malpractice payouts increased by 4.7 percent in 2013. This represented the first national payout increase during the past decade. In 2014, total payouts increased again by 4.4 percent.
When considering the 521 claims for 2015 compared to the vast population of the New York City area, this figure may not seem all that alarming. However, these claims were filed against just 11 public hospitals. All of these medical centers are operated by the City Health and Hospitals Corporation – the most sizable municipal medical system in the U.S.
As one might expect, some of those 11 hospitals were named as defendants more often than others. The number of claims against Bellevue, for example, increased from 57 to 80 in 2015 while the number filed against Coney Island increased from 31 to 43. Surprisingly, some hospitals saw a downward trend in malpractice claims. Perhaps the most notable of these was North Central Bronx. Claims against this hospital declined from 22 to six in 2015. And in Harlem, claims decreased from 34 to 28.
New York leads the country in malpractice payouts
Although the national trend is pointing toward increases in malpractice payouts, New York still retains the dubious distinction of leading the country in hospital negligence payouts when analyzed on a per capita basis. In fact, in 2014, The Washington Post published a color-coded map depicting the range of malpractice payouts across the country. New York and Pennsylvania were the only states highlighted in red to signify the highest level of payouts. For that year, malpractice awards accounted for $690 million in New York, which was almost double the figure for the runner-up, Pennsylvania.
In 2014, New York averaged $39 per resident in malpractice payouts compared to $25 per Pennsylvania resident. In recent years, the trend toward a decline in malpractice claims had been fueled by tort reforms, including those that placed a cap on payouts. The recently released data from New York City suggest a reversal in malpractice trends.
The Sanders Firm has a longstanding history of providing effective legal advocacy to secure just compensation on behalf of our clients throughout the New York City area. If you feel that you or a loved one may have been the victim of medical malpractice, you can contact our law office at 1-800-FAIR-PLAY for a free case evaluation.
- The National Law Review, Medical Malpractice Claims at NYC-owned Hospitals Increase, http://www.natlawreview.com/article/medical-malpractice-claims-nyc-owned-hospitals-increase
- The Washington Post, MAP: New York is the clear leader in medical malpractice awards, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/03/15/map-new-york-is-the-clear-leader-in-medical-malpractice-awards