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Dermatology Malpractice Premiums Up 16.7 Percent

Mean medical liability premiums were $10,898 in 2004, but higher for those in cosmetic practice

MONDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- The mean dermatology malpractice premium was $10,898 in 2004 in the United States, and was higher in states that the American Medical Association has declared "crisis states" because liability issues have reduced patients' access to care, according to research published in the March issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Jack S. Resneck, Jr., M.D., of the University of California San Francisco, analyzed insurance cost data from a 2004 survey of 1,095 dermatologists.

Mean medical liability premiums rose 16.7 percent to $10,898 in 2004. In comparison, premiums increased by 24.4 percent in 2003. There was considerable state-to-state variation, and premiums in AMA-declared crisis states and states without $250,000 non-economic damage caps had a mean of $11,669 compared with $9,527 for other states. Premiums were higher for dermatologists spending more than 10 percent of their time in cosmetic practice ($13,816), or more than 30 percent of their time in non-cosmetic surgery ($12,551).

"While premiums paid by dermatologists for professional liability insurance in 2004 were well below those experienced by higher-risk specialties, geographic factors and state tort law variation seem to be affecting dermatology premiums in much the same way they affect the field of medicine as a whole," the authors write.

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