A Close Look at Million Dollar Medical Liability Claims in New York State

MLMIC Insurance Company prepared an analysis of claims that closed during 2013 through 2017 and resulted in payments of $1 million or more. Our goal was to determine the issues and commonalities of million dollar medical liability claims in New York State in order to proactively mitigate high-exposure risks for our insureds.

The report – Million Dollar Claims: Claims Review and Loss Analysis Report – examines claims by geography and specialty and by chief medical factors (such as improper performance and diagnostic error) and offers strategies for risk management. In addition, it provides visualizations of the data and includes relevant case studies.

Each closed claim reviewed in the report is derived from MLMIC’s database of losses within the State of New York. As the leading liability carrier for healthcare professionals and facilities in New York, only MLMIC has the experience, knowledge and expertise to provide such a detailed overview of New York’s medical professional liability environment.

Mitigation strategies in the report address the “Risk Management Trifecta”: communication, documentation and follow-up. Throughout MLMIC’s 40+ years of experience of working with, examining and closing claims, we’ve seen a significant number of claims that occurred due to lack of documentation and communication, as well as various issues regarding follow-up.

To mitigate these three potential threats, we have included universal risk management strategies that can, and should, be employed by all healthcare providers. Case reviews and data analytics are performed on closed medical malpractice claims with the intent to identify areas of weakness and opportunities for improvement. The goal is to identify risks and develop and execute strategies to mitigate those potential risks in future patient encounters.

What we have learned

The report’s top findings support the conclusions of similar studies made in the medical liability industry, including those published by the MPL Association and ECRI. Collectively, we have used these findings to develop our risk management programs and activities.

Even with ideal circumstances, there are times when unanticipated outcomes occur. While not every untoward occurrence becomes a claim or suit, New York State has a long-standing reputation of being a very litigious environment for professional liability claims.

MLMIC works to mitigate the risk of an event becoming a significant malpractice claim by helping insureds

  • enhance communication with patients, families and members of the healthcare team;
  • provide documentation that tells the story of the care delivered; and
  • perform adequate follow-up on tests, reports and appointments.

The full report on million dollar medical liability claims in New York State is available here.