UMA says malpractice costs driving out obstetricians

Associated Press
Friday, July 12, 2002

Two Utah doctors' groups say surveys of their members show many are leaving the baby-delivery business because of rising malpractice-insurance costs.

The Utah Medical Association said only half the family practitioners surveyed still deliver babies, and nearly one-third of those say they plan to stop practicing obstetrics within the next decade - most within five years.

The Utah Chapter of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said that of 106 chapter members polled, 15 had already stopped practicing obstetrics. Of the remaining 91 doctors, 21 plan to follow suit within five years. Liability insurance premiums have soared 35 percent in the last year, averaging $60,000 a year for a Utah obstetrician, the UMA said.


Opponents of the legislation said fewer legal cases would not guarantee lower costs.

"Today's insurance crisis has absolutely nothing to do with the U.S. legal system, tort laws, lawyers or juries," said Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy.

She said the average medical malpractice verdict is about $30,000, and medical malpractice costs are at an all-time low of 0.55 percent of national health care expenditures.

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

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