Lawsuits against hospitals to rise

Hospitals face increasing liability costs in the coming year, according to a new analysis.

Hospitals face increasing liability costs in the coming years, according to the 2010 Hospital Professional Liability and Physician Liability Benchmark Analysis by Aon Risk Solutions.

Hospitals are employing more physicians (up 12% per bed since 2005), and the healthcare industry is seeing a shift in claims costs from physician professional liability to hospital professional liability, according to Aon.

The study shows the frequency of claims against hospitals has entered a growth phase, which is expected to drive liability costs up at a rate higher than general inflation.

Loss rates, which measure the total cost of medical malpractice claims per hospital bed, are expected to grow 5% annually. In 2011, hospitals are expected to experience a rate of $3,280 per bed, reflecting a $150 increase from 2010's expected rate of $3,130 and a $300 rise from 2009's rate of $2,980.

Aon's analysis includes 119 hospital systems and more than 1,800 facilities.