The number of medical malpractice cases filed in Kansas has ticked up after declining for several years, while the average cost of settlement payouts hovers near a 10-year average, according to data released Monday to the Health Care StabilizationFund Oversight Committee.
Between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 276 cases were reported. That’s up from 235 and 248 in fiscal years 2015 and 2016, but down from highs between 300 and 400 in the early 2000s.
The Health Care Stabilization Fund provides liability insurance to Kansas health care providers and requires that providers pay into the fund through a surcharge on their professional liability insurance policies.
The fund itself saw 65 claims last year, a drop from 76 the previous year. It paid out $21.7 million in settlements, supplementing payouts by providers’ main and excess insurance carriers. It also paid $800,000 for a case decided by a jury verdict.
“So overall, I would say that fiscal year ‘17 wasn’t a good year, and it wasn’t a bad year,” said Rita Noll, deputy director and chief counsel for the fund.
According to the report, the number of claims paid by health care providers’ primary insurance carrier also decreased.
Noll said the number of cases filed declined for five years but increased slightly after 2014.
“But that was to be expected because the 2014 Legislature added five new categories of health care providers to the fund …so we’re starting to see claims come in on those health care providers,” Noll said.