Profession

Pa. liability reforms said to be working; medical society cautious

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 26, 2005

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A recent insurance commissioner report says medical liability costs in Pennsylvania declined 5% to 8%, thanks to reforms enacted in 2002.

The July report is proof that reforms banning venue shopping, requiring a certificate of merit when filing a medical liability lawsuit, and reducing the mandatory coverage limit are helping doctors, state Sens. Jay Costa Jr. and Michael J. Stack said.

But the senators' conclusions were drawn from a very small portion of a report that dealt mainly with the growth of the liability insurance market, Pennsylvania Medical Society spokesman Chuck Moran said. The report concluded the market had not grown enough for physicians to purchase more insurance from private companies rather than through the state-run Mcare fund.

Moran pointed to one portion of the study that said severity of claims has not declined. "They're not really painting the big picture," he said.

Meanwhile, State Rep. Phyllis Mundy introduced a bill in the Pennsylvania Legislature that would provide a 20% discount on medical liability premiums to doctors and health care facilities that implement a total quality management system designed to reduce medical errors. A hearing on the bill was scheduled for Sept. 20.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2005/09/26/prbf0926.htm.

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