The number of medical dispute claims is on the rise with a low rate of successful settlements, a report showed Tuesday.
According to the state-run Korea Medical Dispute Mediation and Arbitration Agency, a total of 2,287 claims for medical dispute mediation were filed in the last two years. While the monthly average of claims was 56 cases in 2012, the rate has more than doubled this year.
Only about 42 percent of the total disputes ― 912 cases ― were settled successfully. Over half of the filed cases remained unresolved as the concerned doctors did not take part in the mediation. Currently, the mediation process cannot be initiated unless the involved doctors agree to participate within 15 days of the claim notice.
“While the mediation participation rate is rising, the mediation process is very limited as the procedure cannot be carried out without the agreement of the involved doctors,” said the agency. “A new bill is being pushed to force the automatic start of the medical dispute arbitration process regardless of doctors’ agreement.”
Among medical fields, orthopedics had the highest number of claims with 19.9 percent or 454 cases, followed by internal medicine, neurosurgery and dentistry, with 17.1 percent, 9.7 percent and 8.8 percent, respectively.
The total compensation cost filed amounted to 123 billion won ($117 million).
The agency determines the amount of compensation based on medical cost and income loss of patients.
The agency was formed in 2012 to help patients promptly receive compensation while reducing the financial burden commonly caused by long-term medical suits.
By Lee Hyun-jeong (firstname.lastname@example.org)