Study: Less than 2 percent of physicians account for half of malpractice suits

A recent analysis found 1.8 percent of physicians were liable for half of the $80 billion reported in malpractice payouts documented in the National Practitioner Data Bank.

For the analysis, published in the Journal of Patient Safety, researchers examined 25 years of malpractice payouts documented in the NPBD.

Researchers also found 2.6 percent of physicians with a malpractice claim payout had an adverse licensure action reported to the NPDB and 6.3 percent had a clinical privileges action reported. These numbers suggest only a small percentage of these outlier physicians face a loss of clinical privileges. Additionally, physicians categorized in the high dollar payout group with one malpractice claim payout had a 74.5 percent chance of another payout.

"There is a clustering of payments in medical malpractice cases among a small group of physicians. These findings point up the need to oppose the negative impact of such outlier physicians on the safety of patients," concluded the study's authors.

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