CJ&D Report Refutes American Medical Association Claims of "Crisis"; Ignores Contradictory Courtroom and Medical Evidence in 18 States

Thursday, April 24, 2003

For Release:
April 24, 2003

Contact: Joanne Doroshow



New York, NY - The American Medical Association (AMA) has failed to disclose information contradicting its allegation that a “lawsuit crisis” exists in 18 states, according to a new study by the Center for Justice & Democracy (CJ&D) entitled Where’s The Crisis? Has America Been Duped By The AMA?

According to CJ&D Executive Director and study co-author, Joanne Doroshow, “When the AMA asserts that a state is in ‘crisis,’ few raise questions even though there may be strong evidence to dispute the notion. In fact, the AMA consistently fails to disclose contradictory courtroom and medical data, often uncovered by local media outlets, that undermine its PR and lobbying campaign for limiting jury awards.”

“Specifically,” said Doroshow, “in most AMA ‘crisis’ states, claims against doctors are actually falling or have held steady. Rather than leaving, doctors are flooding into many of these states. And in three states – Nevada, Mississippi and Ohio – within the past year lawmakers enacted caps on damage awards for patients. Yet in each case, doctors are still struggling to find affordable insurance. Clearly, if doctors are being price-gouged by insurers in any of these 18 states, the cause and solutions lie with the insurance industry, not the legal system,” said Doroshow.

According to study co-author Emily Gottlieb, CJ&D Deputy Director, “The following states have been identified as ‘liability crisis’ states by the AMA in the group’s push for a cap of $250,000 on non-economic damages. Yet a simple analysis of local reports, which have examined local courtroom and medical data, says differently.”

CJ&D’s study finds the following:

Arkansas: No evidence damage awards are rising (because no entity compiles these records)

Connecticut: Little change in number of lawsuit filings for a decade; numbers of neurosurgeons and OB/GYNs increasing

Florida: Jury awards have dropped as state has grown; number of claims and payouts steadily falling

Georgia: Number of claims paid is down 25 percent; doctors win 85 percent of time

Illinois: Number of claims steady throughout the 1990s; 76 percent dismissed without payment

Kentucky: Doctors per capita increasing faster than the nation

Mississippi: State gaining doctors; only four states grew faster in physician population; cap passed in 2002 but doctors still can’t find affordable insurance

Missouri: Number of claims fell 29 percent since 1987

New Jersey: Lawsuits down 16 percent since 1997; less than 10 percent of doctors experiencing large rate increase

Nevada: Number of doctors increased 41 percent since 1992; cap passed in 2002 but insurers haven’t reduced premiums

New York: Number one in nation for per capital surgical specialists: number three for OB/GYNs; largest insurer denied rate hike

North Carolina: Number of doctors up 41 percent since 1992

Ohio: Number of case filings equal to 1995; juries ruled for patients less than half as often as in 1995; cap passed in 2003 but insurers haven’t reduced premiums

Oregon: Cases against doctors decreased from 2000 to 2001

Pennsylvania: Jury awards are dropping; million-dollar awards down for second straight year

Texas: Claims falling since 1999

Washington: Little change in lawsuits filed; number of million-dollar awards same as in 1999

West Virginia: Claims down since 1993; amount paid to settle claims constant since 1993

For a copy of the full study, including complete citations and data .

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