"Our claims losses are miniscule now in the obstetrics area, whereas they used to be the largest share of our annual claims pool," he says. "We didn't expect it to be as marked a decrease as we've seen, but we're of course very pleased."
Banner's actuary has been watching claims fall more than expected for the past three years, and finally proclaimed the reduced claims rate sustainable, thus allowing the system to reduce its reserves significantly.
"The net result for 2009 is that our malpractice expense will be almost zero," Dahlen says. "I expect it to go up to probably a little less than three-quarters of a percent or 1% of revenue and that'll be our normal run rate."
Given those results, do you think health courts would reduce malpractice rates, frivolous lawsuits, and the practice of defensive medicine? Or is putting a good idea into a demonstration project another way of pushing a nagging problem under the rug?