AMA Prez-elect touts medical malpractice reform; Group says crisis in insurance premiums could hinder patients' access

American Bar Association Journal
Friday, September 6, 2002

Donald Palmisano is a physician who got a law degree because he got tired of being told that doctors don't understand the law. Now he's in the bully pulpit as president-elect of the American Medical Association as it launches a major effort at medical liability reform.

Palmisano has lectured, testified, written and cajoled about medical malpractice reform since 1975, when local medical society work in Louisiana put him at the forefront of that state's successful legislative effort to cap nonmedical damage awards.


Critics of the medical malpractice reform movement deny any crisis and point to other reasons for problems. The buzz continues from an investigative story in The Wall Street Journal, published two weeks after the AMA released its "crisis" report, that detailed how mismanaged pricing and accounting by medical malpractice insurance companies gave a false picture of profitability that led to price wars in the early 1990s. That, the Journal said, is why there is a need to raise premiums now.

That price war was made worse, the newspaper found, by the so-called "bedpan mutuals," malpractice insurance companies created and run by physicians themselves.

"The AMA and others are using information that is wrong and inflammatory," says Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy, a public interest group based in New York City that warns of problems with tort reform.

For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

Join Our Fight!

The Center for Justice & Democracy is the only national consumer organization in the country exclusively dedicated to protecting our civil justice system. If you'd like more information, please contact us.

Connect with us