The PRMS Blog

New Cause of Loss Data from The Psychiatrists’ Program®


I thought you might like to see our Program’s cause of loss chart, updated to include data from our claims and lawsuits closed in 2015.

Note that for the first time with this data, “medication issues” has pulled ahead of “suicide/attempted suicide” as the most identifiable cause of loss for psychiatrists. However, keep in mind that cases coded as “incorrect treatment” can certainly include a suicide and/or psychopharmacology issues.

The Psychiatrists’ Program® Cause of Loss 2006 – 2015

Primary Allegation All Ages Adults Minors
Incorrect Treatment 35% 35% 34%
Medication Issues 19% 19% 18%
Suicide/Attempted Suicide 15% 15% 15%
Incorrect Diagnosis 6% 6% 7%
Other 8% 8% 6%
Unnecessary Commitment 5% 5% 3%
Breach of Confidentiality 3% 3% 3%
Improper Supervision 3% 3% 8%
Vicarious Liability 2% 2% 3%
Forensic 1% 1% 1%
Duty to Warn / Protect 1% 1% 2%
Abandonment 1% 1%
Boundary Violation 1% 1%

(For the first time I can ever recall, the adults only data matched exactly the all age data.)

Things to keep in mind about this data:

  • “Primary allegation” is the main allegation by plaintiffs’ attorneys of what the psychiatrist did wrong.
  • “Incorrect treatment” will represent a high percentage of cases because plaintiffs’ attorneys often use a broad, general allegation initially; this category includes all types of cases, including suicide and psychopharmacology.
  • The category labeled “Improper Supervision” refers to supervision of patients as well as of other providers.



Donna Vanderpool, MBA, JD – Vice President
As Vice President of Risk Management, Ms. Vanderpool is responsible for the development and implementation of PRMS’s risk management services for The Psychiatrists’ Program. Ms. Vanderpool has developed expertise in the areas of HIPAA and forensic practice, and has consulted, written and spoken nationally on these and other healthcare law and risk management topics. She most recently contributed to a chapter in Gun Violence and Mental Illness (APPI), authored chapters on telepsychiatry in Mental Health Practice in a Digital World (Springer) and Psychoanalysis Online 2(Karnac). She also has co-edited and contributed chapters to several other clinical textbooks. Prior to joining PRMS in 2000, Ms. Vanderpool practiced criminal defense law, taught business and legal courses, and spent eight years managing a general surgical practice. Ms. Vanderpool received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management from James Madison University. She also earned a Master of Business Administration degree and Juris Doctor degree from George Mason University. Follow Donna on LinkedIn.

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