Practice Management: Ob-Gyns Continue to Change Their Practice Based on Liability Insurance Rates, Fear of Claims: Results of 2015 ACOG Professional Liability Survey
Data from the 2015 ACOG Survey on Professional Liability confirm an enduring negative liability environment in which ob-gyns are forced to make changes to their practice. High professional liability premiums and the fear of lawsuits continue to adversely impact ob-gyns’ ability to practice and women’s access to health care.
Nearly 50% of ob-gyns surveyed have made changes to their practice as a result of the risk or fear of professional liability claims or litigation, and nearly 40% have made changes to their practice because of the unavailability or unaffordability of professional liability insurance. In both instances, ob-gyns decreased the number of high-risk obstetric patients and decreased gynecologic surgical procedures. In states lacking meaningful liability reforms, such as New York and Florida, practice change rates were at times nearly double the national average.
Professional liability premium rates have stabilized in recent years but remain high in many parts of the country and continue to have a significant impact on ob-gyn practices. In fact, almost 7% of ob-gyns in Florida reported dropping liability insurance altogether.
73.6% of survey respondents indicated that they experienced at least one professional liability claim filed against them during their professional careers, an average of 2.59 claims per ob-gyn. Of these ob-gyns, 41.1% reported experiencing at least one claim filed against them as a result of care rendered during their residency training.
Nearly 48% of ob-gyns reported that their claims were dropped or settled without any payment on behalf of the ob-gyn. 33.5% of all claims were dropped by the plaintiff, over 10% were dismissed by the court, and nearly 4% were settled without any payment on behalf of the ob-gyn. Despite these outcomes, meritless claims can take several years to defend, and the associated psychological stress often impedes an ob-gyn’s ability to practice both during and after a claim is resolved.
Complete Professional Liability Survey Results
Click here to access the complete National and District summaries from the survey, learn about top ob-gyn allegations and more. Use these reports in your lobbying and public education campaigns!
To help formulate your professional liability and risk management strategy, purchase ACOG’s resource for physicians, Professional Liability and Risk Management: An Essential Guide for Obstetrician-Gynecologists, 3rd Edition.