Rise in claims against outpatient anesthesia services

A new study shows that malpractice payouts by anesthesiologists are declining, while payouts to by outpatient anesthesia services are on the rise. According to information from the National Practitioner Data Bank, claims against outpatient medical service providers have been growing as a whole, and this rise reflects the growing use of outpatient services by United States medical patients.

According to the west coast anesthesiologist who presented the study, medical malpractice claims have been declining overall since 2005, while the proportion of claims against outpatient service providers has risen compared to claims against hospitals. That said, the amount of malpractice money paid out by outpatient providers is still considerably less than that paid by traditional hospitals. It is not known whether the recent popularity of outpatient services has affected payments as it specifically relates to anesthesiology.

The study does not indicate that the size of malpractice payouts has grown overall, but it does shows that inpatient claims paid are usually bigger than outpatient claims. It also showed that the difference in size between outpatient claims (which are usually smaller) and inpatient claims (which are usually larger) is not as significant as it was in older studies.

As for anesthesiology claims in particular, the overall amount of money spent by medical providers on anesthesia-related issues has declined by 41.4 percent, or $83.3 million, since 2005. The reduction in claim money paid by anesthesiology providers could mean that anesthesiologists are doing more to prevent accidental death and serious injury.

Anesthesia errors are one of the most common reasons for a hospital negligence or outpatient surgery center negligence claim to be filed. Connecticut residents who have been injured or have a close relative who died as a result of an anesthesia error may be able to seek justice and financial restitution in court.

Source: painmedicinenews.com, “Medical Malpractice Claims Against Anesthesiologists Decrease and Shift to Outpatient Anesthesia Services,” Chase Doyle, Jan. 14, 2016

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