The average total incurred amount of a nurse practitioner malpractice claim has increased to $332,137 – a jump of more than 10.5% since 2017, according to a newly released claim report published by the Nurses Service Organization (NSO) , a division of Aon Affinity.

The Nurse Practitioner Professional Liability Exposure Claim Report: 5th Edition highlights the top professional exposures facing nurse practitioners, including professional liability claims and license protection matters, as well as case studies, analyses, and insights.

“Because NPs can diagnose, treat and prescribe to patients, they are more vulnerable to the threat of a malpractice suit,” says Michael Loughran, president of Aon Affinity Healthcare. “Our goal is to equip them with data and tools that can help them recognize their exposures, reduce their risks and ultimately help them improve patient outcomes.”

Nurse Practitioner Malpractice Report Key Findings

  • The cost to defend license matters is increasing. The average cost of defending complaints against NPs to the State Board of Nursing is $7,155, a 19.5% increase compared to the 2017 report and a 61.1% increase compared to the 2012 report. 
  • Nursing specialties with high exposure. Family and adult-gerontology primary care constitute 66% of all claims – with most occurring in the office of an NP or physician and many involving diagnoses and medication prescribing failures. The neonatal specialty again represents the highest average total incurred of closed claims.
  • Key allegations. A majority of nurse practitioner professional liability claims involve diagnosis allegations. Death and cancer are the two most common injuries, representing more than half of the claims.
  • Top nurse practitioner licensure complaints. The allegations that most frequently lead to licensing board complaints include allegations related to professional conduct and prescribing medication.  
See also
What, Why, How of Clinical Judgment

“Understanding the conditions that lead to a claim can help nurses develop techniques to mitigate risk and minimize the potential for litigation,” says Michael Scott, Assistant Vice President, Healthcare Underwriting, CNA. “This report provides nurses with tools and best practices to help create a safer environment for their patients and themselves.”

Resources for Nurse Practitioners 

The report also includes links to Nurse Practitioner Spotlights and resources highlighting risk control best practices for NPs on several key topics: license defense, depositions, patient adherence, telemedicine, diagnosis, documentation, and prescribing.

The Nurse Practitioner Professional Liability Exposure Claim Report: 5th Edition is the fifth claim report published by CNA and NSO addressing nurse practitioner liability since 2005 and represents NSO and CNA’s ongoing commitment to educating the nursing community.

The general analysis includes 232 anonymized closed claims involving an NP, NP receiving coverage through a CNA-insured healthcare business, or an NP student that resulted in paid indemnity greater than or equal to $10,000.

Download the complete report here.

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