Diederich Healthcare, a division of Diederich Insurance Agency, LLC; has released their 2016 medical malpractice payout analysis, and the data shows that malpractice payouts increased for the third consecutive year in 2015. Last year, payouts across the United States totaled $3.95 billion, an increase of 1.68% from 2014.
New York remained at the top as the state with the highest medical malpractice payout total, a place that the state has held all five years that Diederich has performed this analysis. Payouts in the state totaled $712 million, which was a 4.2% decrease from 2014 but still considerably higher than second-place Pennsylvania ($374 million). By itself, New York accounted for 18% of all payouts in the U.S. The state also had the highest per-capita payout of $35.95, beating out Massachusetts ($30.18) and Pennsylvania ($29.21).
New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maryland each ranked among the 10 states with the highest total payouts, giving the northeast region a per-capita rate of $28.42 – nearly three times as much as any other region. The Northeast collectively accounted for 45.93% of all payouts in the U.S., although the region saw only a slight increase of 0.08% from 2014.
The region with the largest increase in payouts was the Midwest, which saw an increase of 6.05%. North Dakota and Minnesota had the two highest percentage increases of all 50 states at 265% and 163%, respectively. Illinois led the region in total payouts at $258 million, also accounting for the highest per-capita rate at $20.08 and the largest dollar-value increase in the country of $49.7 million. Overall, the Midwest accounted for 16.81% of national payouts and ranked second with a per-capita rate of $9.79.
The only region to see a decrease in payouts was the South, where payouts fell by a collective 0.62%. Nine of the region’s 15 states decreased payouts, including a 56.4% decrease in Alabama, where payouts fell by $26.1 million. Numbers also went down considerably in Texas, where payouts decreased by $23.4 million, or 23.7%, to give the state the lowest per-capita rate in the region at $2.74. On the opposite end of the spectrum, West Virginia’s payouts increased by 65.3%, giving the state a per-capita rate of $27.22 that ranks fifth in the nation and is more than double the rate of any other state in the South. Florida led the region with a total of $248.9 million in payouts, an increase of 14.3% from 2014. Collectively, the South accounted for 22.8% of all payouts and had a per-capita rate of $7.69.
The western region had the lowest per-capita payout rate at $7.89 and the second-highest increase at 5.54%. At $263.8 million, California was the only state in the West to rank in the top 10 nationally, but the state’s per-capita rate of $6.74 is still relatively low. The West accounted for just 15.18% of all payouts.
The analysis also shows that female patients accounted for 52% of payouts, while males accounted for 47%. Adults between the ages of 40 and 59 made up 36% of all patients, and 47% of care situations were inpatient compared to 39% outpatient. The highest average payouts went to patients in outcomes that involved quadriplegia, brain damage or lifelong care. The average payout in these cases was $1.1 million. Outcomes involving death were more frequent, however, and accounted for 30% of all payouts. Thirty-one percent of payment amounts resulted from allegations of misdiagnosis, while 23% resulted from claims involving surgery.
Data for the payout analysis came from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), which has collected more than one-million rows of information collected from Sep. 1, 1990 to December 31, 2015. As the governing entity that keeps records of all negative actions that have been brought against any medical worker, the National Practitioner Data Bank’s goal is to improve healthcare and service for both the provider and patient, as well as reduce fraud and abuse of the medical system. More information about the NPDB can be found at http://www.npdb-hipdb.hrsa.gov.
To view the entire 10-page infographic, visit the Diederich Healthcare website at https://www.diederichhealthcare.com/the-standard/2016-medical-malpractice-payout-analysis. If you wish to use this infographic or its data for any purpose or to embed the infographic on a different website, please include proper credit and link to the original piece.To contact the author, call 800-457-7790 and ask for William Bateman.