Malpractice Crisis Looms For Area MD

Suffolk Life
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Less than a year after New York State raised medical malpractice premiums by 15%, and created a task force to look into nagging problems in financing medical practitioners' insurance, some doctors in Suffolk County are up in arms about rumors that they may be in for another financial shock this year.

"The law requires assigned risk doctors to get insurance somewhere," explained Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy, and a member of the state's task force. "So, originally, a state fund was set up. But over the years the governors started taking money out of that fund, they disbanded it, and they created a medical malpractice insurance pool so that carriers [insurance companies] could take on responsibility for these doctors. If that money hadn't been taken from the original state fund, there wouldn't be much of a problem in this state today - that was the repeated testimony of the carriers before the task force."


"Those things weren't even on the table [during the state task force deliberations]," said Doroshow. "It was clear that they [the tort reform recommendations] don't do anything to help and rates won't come down. That was the lesson in everything that we saw in other states." What will help then? "There are many proposals that were made to deal with the deficit," she said. "Spread the deficit within the entire property casualty industry - then there would be an infinitesimal increase for policy holders. Another idea is to reinstate the original state funds to handle these doctors and bring some money into the fund. There are myriad ideas, but we think that the one bad idea is the $50,000 surcharge."

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

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