Doctors rally against skyrocketing malpractice insurance costs

Associated Press
Monday, June 10, 2002

Several hundred doctors rallied in downtown Cleveland on Monday to protest malpractice lawsuits that they say are driving up medical malpractice insurance rates and driving doctors out of business.


While rates are rising nationwide, Ohio has been particularly hard hit because several companies that used to provide malpractice insurance have gone bankrupt or left the market.

PIE Mutual Insurance Co. was the largest malpractice insurer in the state until it was taken over by state regulators in December 1997 and later liquidated. The head of the company later pleaded guilty to draining funds from the company to pay gambling debts and to contribute to politicians.

Tim Maglione, spokesman for the Ohio State Medical Association, said companies get out of the business in part because of huge damages awarded by juries in malpractice claims.


"That is totally untrue," said Joanne Doroshow, director of a New York-based advocacy group called the Center for Justice and Democracy. She said those numbers come from voluntary reports of lawyers who want publicity for their victories. She said lawyers who lose liability claims are unlikely to respond to the survey.

"Every 10 years or so, the industry starts losing money in the stock market or on interest rates, and they respond by increasing premiums on doctors 100 or 200 percent," Doroshow said. "It has absolutely nothing to do with lawsuits."

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

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