The number of malpractice settlements and aggregate payments rose in 1994, according to data compiled by the National Practitioner Data Bank.
In 1994, 20,266 malpractice payments were reported to the data bank, up 1.7% from 1993, but still 1.3% lower than 1992. Malpractice payments in 1994 totaled $3.3 billion, 8.4% greater than 1993.
HHS officials used the data to argue that malpractice lawsuits are not a growing problem, as many providers and insurers contend. The data bank collects information on malpractice payments and disciplinary actions taken against physicians and other practitioners.