Lawsuit form with a stethoscopeAccording to a new study appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in the past ten years, the rate of medical malpractice claims resulting in some sort of payment has seen a drastic reduction.

The study examined data from the National Practitioner Data Bank and the American Medical Association’s Physician Masterfile to identify trends in the frequency of claims against doctors over a 19 year time period ending in 2013.  The results indicated that claims resulting in payment have been decreasing since the early 2000s at the rate of approximately 6 %.

However, it was not all good news.  The median payment made increased by over 60 % until about 2007.  But even this bad news had a silver lining: the trend then reversed and began declining by about 1 % per year.

How true this holds in Nebraska and the Midwest is questionable as the study only examined certain counties in California, New York, Illinois, and the states of Tennessee and Colorado.  Colorado saw decreases for internists (20 percent), and small increases for general surgeons (13 percent) and ob-gyns (11 percent).