Since I’ve twice hit the subject of “defensive medicine” in the last couple weeks — doctors claiming to do extra procedures out of fear of being sued — I thought it would be a good time to update the state of the medical malpractice crisis in New York. OK, I didn’t really think of this on my own as a time to update. I got a press release on the subject. And while I don’t generally act as a distributor of press releases, this one seems to be particularly important.
The author is New York State Senator John DeFrancisco (Republican, Syracuse). He is currently the powerful chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and was formerly the chair of the Judiciary Committee.
And guess what? The “crisis” doesn’t exist. Without further ado, a brief press release from today:
Malpractice costs have been rising more slowly than overall medical inflation in recent years, and the number of malpractice cases filed has gone down in every successive year since 2007. Today, New York has the fourth most doctors per resident of any state, and continues to graduate many of the nation’s new physicians every year.
Given the improving financial outlook of Physicians’ Reciprocal Insurers and the record $1.2 billion surplus that Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Company recorded last year, significant increases in malpractice insurance costs are unlikely in the years to come. In fact, even today’s modest increases may have been unnecessary.
Moreover, numerous studies have shown that malpractice costs can be dramatically reduced by implementing safety programs that protect patients and reduce preventable medical mistakes before they happen.