According to the New York City comptroller’s office and the medical malpractice lawyers, the number of medical malpractice claims in New York City has hit a high. The Comptroller, under the New York City Charter, is responsible for adjusting and settling claims made against and for the City of New York.
The number of medical malpractice claims during the fiscal year 2015 that were filed against hospitals owned by the City increased when compared to the number of claims filed in 2014. In 2013, there was a 4.7% increase in payouts for medical malpractice on a national level, according to records by medical malpractice lawyers at the National Practitioner Data Banks that were compiled by Diederich Healthcare. Information about medical malpractice is collected at the National Practitioner Data Bank.
Prior to 2013, there had been no increase in the amount of medical malpractice payouts since 2003. For the first time in a decade, medical malpractice payouts increased during the 2015 fiscal year. Total payout amounts in 2014 increased by 4.4%, according to the medical liability and consulting company, Diedrich. In fact, when compared to all other states, more money per capital was paid out in New York on medical malpractice claims by medical malpractice lawyers. New York was followed by New Jersey and Pennsylvania in payouts.
The data from the New York Comptroller’s Office comes from settlement of meritorious claims records in which either an individual or their proper suffered damage due to negligence by the City. In the 2013 fiscal year, there were 405 medical malpractice claims filed against hospitals owned by the City, based on information provided by the Comptroller’s Office of New York City. In 2015, that number rose to 521.
Medical malpractice claims are among the most costly filed against the City, even though they only make up a small percentage of the personal injury claims. In part because they are so complex, they take a long time to resolve which can be up to five or ten years.
There are 11 public hospitals in the City of New York. These hospitals are operated by the Health and Hospitals Corporation. In the United States, this municipal healthcare system is the largest in the country. A capped limit is set by the Office of Management and Budget which limits the amount of medical malpractice liability and medical malpractice lawyers that the Health and Hospitals Corporation is responsible for financially.
Medical malpractice filings increased at some hospitals managed by the Health and Hospitals Corporation, such as Coney Island which saw a claim increase from 31 to 43 and Bellevue where claims rose from 57 to 80, other hospitals experienced a decline in the number of filings. In particular, at North Central Bronx, claims dropped from 22 to 6 and at Harlem where they went from 34 claims to 28. In addition, even though there was a slight increase in the total number of claims filed against the Health and Hospitals Corporation from 2014 to 2015, the total number of 2015 claims was lower than the number filed in 2013, which makes the trend downward.
Nationwide, there was a dramatic drop in the number of medical malpractice filings and payouts following tort reform efforts. The number was virtually cut in half in Pennsylvania, and, in particular, Philadelphia. However, since 2013, the trend now seems to be moving in the opposite direction as the information and medical malpractice lawyers suggest.