Medical Malpractice:

Data on Claims Needed to Evaluate Health Centers' Insurance Alternatives

HRD-91-98: Published: May 2, 1991. Publicly Released: May 2, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on critical data elements needed to assess alternative ways of providing medical malpractice insurance coverage to community and migrant health care centers providing services to vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.

GAO found that: (1) available malpractice claims data did not provide an adequate basis to assess insurance alternatives, due to incomplete, outdated, and limited data; (2) if center physicians had more favorable claims experience, proportionately lower malpractice insurance costs could be indicated; (3) in actuarial terms, the total number of physicians was small, making it important to maximize data adequacy by maximizing the number of centers from which data are obtained; and (4) actuaries believed that critical data needed to test assumptions included the number of physicians and other health care providers covered by the centers', or their own, malpractice insurance and the associated number of claims and the dollar amount of claims of the centers over at least the past 5 years.