Archives: October 2014

October 2014 Newsletter

  Protect Patients Now Volume 9, Issue 10 October 2014 Newsletter E-Newsletter     Special points of interest: New Study Validates Importance of Limits on Non-Economic Damages HCLA Radio Ads Mobilize Support for Pro-Liability Reform Candidate Liability Rates Peak and Plateau New Study Validates Importance of Limits on Non-Economic Damages A recent study published in Health Affairs validates what pro-liability reform supporters have been pushing policymakers to enact for decades — reasonable limits on non-economic damages — which result in lower costs for patients across the country. The authors of the study, titled “Medical Malpractice Reform: Noneconomic Damages Caps Reduced Payments 15 Percent, With Varied Effects By Specialty,” analyzed a sample of liability claims from 1985 through 2010 in parallel with information on state liability reforms, to estimate the impact of state limits on non-economic damages on average liability payments. The results compared how the liability payments differed as the limits increased from $250,000 to $500,000. “We found that, overall, noneconomic damage caps reduced average payments by $42,980 (15 percent), compared to having no cap at all,” stated study authors Seth A. Seabury, Eric Helland and Anupam B. Jena. “A $250,000 cap reduced average payments by $59,331 (20 percent), and a $500,000…

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Malpractice Insurance Premiums Nudge Down Again

For the seventh straight year, malpractice insurance premiums have decreased for three bellwether specialties, and even for sticker-shocked obstetrician-gynecologists on Long Island in New York, according to an annual premium survey released this week by Medical Liability Monitor (MLM). Rates quoted by a malpractice carrier called Physicians’ Reciprocal Insurers for obstetrician/gynecologists in the New York counties of Nassau and Suffolk, east of Queens, went from $227,899 in 2013 to $214,999 in 2014, a decrease of almost 6%. However, this rate continues to be the highest quoted by any carrier in any state for this specialty. Overall, malpractice premiums decreased on average by 1.5% in 2014 for obstetrician/gynecologists, internists, and general surgeons, which is slightly less than the 1.9% decrease in 2013. By specialty, rates fell 1.6% for internists, 1.3% for general surgeons, and 1.7% for obstetrician/gynecologists. Since 2008, overall rates for the three specialties have fallen by 13%, MLM said. To many physicians, this slow decline represents little comfort because it was preceded by an era of rate spikes: Premiums increased more than 20% in both 2003 and 2004, and about 9% in 2005 (rate increases in 2006 and 2007 were less than 1%). “We haven’t come down as far…

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