The State Insurance Department says medical malpractice claims have hit a record low – down about 21 percent in 2003, compared to 2002. The Department’s study also shows doctors paid about 121 percent more for their medical malpractice insurance during the four years ending in 2003, although payouts by insurance companies to plaintiffs rose only 14 percent. A spokesman for the State Medical Association says the figures are incomeplete because they don’t include reports from hospitals that insure themselves. The Insurance Department has no power to regulate medical malpractice insurance rates.
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