Costs running OB/GYNS out of town

Staten Island Advance
Sunday, April 24, 2005

Spiking medical malpractice insurance rates have driven one-quarter of Staten Island University Hospital's obstetricians to stop doing high-risk procedures or retire early in the past two or three years, said Dr. Mitchell Maiman, chairman of that hospital's obstetrics and gynecology department.
 In the past year or so, Dr. Michael Moretti said five or six well-respected obstetricians he knows have reduced their practice or retired completely.

Doctors nationwide argue that unless malpractice rewards are capped, increasing malpractice litigation will scathe the profession. Lawyers argue that capped rewards won't help in the long run, that the insurance companies need to better divvy up the fees among doctors of all disciplines and require better public regulation.

But Joanne Doroshow, executive director for the Center for Justice and Democracy in Manhattan, disagrees that capping legal fees and awards will bring down doctor's insurance rates over the long run.
 Insurance companies would keep premiums artificially low in the 1990s due to the thriving economy and money made from bonds, she said. When the economy declined in 2001, she said, insurance rates started spiking.
 While doctors point to frivolous lawsuits as the culprit, Ms. Doroshow said such litigation is rare due to the low rate of medical malpractice victories.
 "The lawyer knows that in 75 percent of the cases, they're not going to win," she said. Lawyers need to spend thousands of dollars for expert witnesses and often don't have access to medical records cloistered at a hospital.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

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