HEALTH & FITNESS
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (UPI) -
Medical malpractice claims related
to incidents in Michigan hospitals and
paid by insurance companies between
1978 and 1983 increased 183 percent
and are expected to continue to rise, a
University study says.
The study, conducted by resear-
chers from the University's Institute
for Social Research and the Medical
School, was released this week.
During the five-year period studied,
the number of hospital-related claims
filed each year increased by 73 per-
cent, from 636 to 1,100 and the average
award paid increased 80 percent,
from $44,000 to $79,000, said Beverly
Payne, M.D., the study's principal in-
"Most of the increase in claims and
in the annual total cash awards paid
occurred from 1982 and 1983," Payne
A said. "This recent upward trend in
the number and amount of claims
should continue for at least the next
three or four years."
The study was commissioned by the
Michigan State Medical Society and
the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of
Michigan Health Care Education and
Research Foundation Inc.
Some of the state's largest
hospitals, including the university
)Hospitals, Henry Ford Hospital in
Detroit, and William Beaumont
Hospitals in Royal Oak and Troy were
not included in the study because they
are self-insured and do not process
their claims through any commercial
However, the University resear-
chers studied all commercially in-
sured physicians and hospitals in the
state and estimate that their findings
" represent at least 90 percent of all
claims increase, 'U'
claims against physicians and 50
percent of all claims against
"Three-quarters of the total num-
ber of recent claims was associated
with medical care delivered in
hospitals and one-quarter with care
delivered in doctors offices, nursing
homes, industrial clinics and
other ambulatory care settings," said
R. Van Harison, instructor and direc-
tor of continuing medical education at
the Medical School.
Harrison said about half of the
claims filed actually resulted in a
monetary settlement. The average
settlement for a hospital-related
claim was $79,000 and $59,000 for a
Other findings included:
* The largest group of those filing
claims continues to be the 20-to 39-
year-old age group.
" About 58 percent of those filing
claims are women.
* The biggest increases in claims
filed were by patients 20 to 39 years of
age, those less than a year old and
people over 60.
While the characteristics of those
filing claims have not changed very
much, those of the defendants have
changed Harrison said.
"Our study shows that an
osteopathic doctor is twice as likely to
be sued for a hospital-related claim a
a medical doctor," Harrison said,
"while a medical doctor in a
nonhospital setting is a little more
likely to be sued than an osteopathic
The study said the medical doctor
specialists most frequently named as
defendants were those in general in-
ternal medicine, family medicine,
pediatrics, general surgery or ob-
The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 11, 1985 -Page 5
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