Frequency, Severity of Medical Malpractice Claims to Rise in 2011

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Hospitals and physicians should expect the frequency and severity of medical malpractice claims to rise in 2011, according to a report by Aon Risk Solutions in Chicago.

U.S. hospitals can expect to face more than 44,000 claims based on incidents occurring in 2009, with anticipated costs swelling over $8.6 billion, according to the report, "Hospital Professional Liability and Physician Liability Benchmark Analysis," which is in its 11th year.

The increased frequency matched with increased severity will push liability costs up at a rate higher than general inflation. Specifically, claims pertaining to incidents in obstetrics units and emergency departments will make up more than 25 percent of that expected $8.6 billion expense, according to the report.

Tort reform, patient safety initiatives and sympathetic public attitudes contributed to the reduction of medical malpractice costs between 2000 and 2006. Today, however, there's less momentum with tort reforms, with many facing serious legal hurdles in several states, according to the report.

Read the Aon release about medical malpractice claims.

Read more about medical malpractice claims:

-Study Finds 42% of Physicians Have Been Sued for Malpractice

-New York City Judge Teams Up With Hospitals to Lower Malpractice Costs

-St. Vincent's Former Medical Staff Asks Hospital for Assistance in Paying Malpractice Insurance Premiums

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