Medical malpractice payouts double in decade: report

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The amount of dollars in paid medical malpractice claims have doubled during the past decade, a report from the Kaiser Commission has found. Average defense costs per claim are similarly up, according to the study.

In response, many states are moving to cap payouts to plaintiffs and lawyers, while others are also putting more stringent statutes of
limitation in place. But the authors said more information is needed to
determine whether such actions are generally helpful.

"While medical malpractice continues to be a focus of state
legislatures, the U.S. Congress, and the Bush administration, little
agreement exists on what approach best addresses the problems of medical
malpractice," they noted.

Medical malpractice lawsuits are often cited by physicians as a reason
for leaving the long-term care sector, according to the American Medical
Directors Association. The full report is available online at
http://www.kff.org/insurance/7328.cfm .

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