Doctors find insurance help

Dayton Daily News
Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Local physicians might find some short-term relief from soaring malpractice premiums through unconventional insurance plans or a state program that will help them start comparison-shopping in mid-September.

The Ohio Department of Insurance will launch the Medical Coverage Assistance Program, a Web-based source of information on the roughly 90 companies selling medical malpractice policies.

While Dayton-area doctors call the concept good, they doubt that it would help soon because only about seven companies are writing new policies for physicians.

Most of them still are pushing for legislation that would cap malpractice damages and limit other plaintiffs' rights in hopes of bringing premiums back under control. Obstetricians and midwives will rally support for their cause at 11 a.m. today at Dave Hall Plaza Park on the corner of Fifth and Main streets in downtown Dayton. High malpractice premiums and low health plan reimbursements threaten the area's supply of physicians in general and childbirth specialists in particular, they say.

Opponents say noneconomic caps would leave the most seriously injured children, retirees and low-wage earners without enough compensation for future expenses and impairments. Economic damages cover only documentable expenses and not projected future medical, housing and transportation expenses, said executive director Joanne Doroshow of the Center for Justice & Democracy. 'And that's aside from compensating parents for the lost potential of a child that will never have a normal life and may need somebody to feed and supervise them 24 hours a day.'

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

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