Statistics from testimony presented by Edward H. Dench Jr., M.D., president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society to the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this year about what doctors in the state are calling a liability insurance crisis:
The crisis in the state, which the Pennsylvania Medical Society has termed a Code Blue Emergency, can be traced to 1996 when medical liability insurance rates started climbing. In 1996, there was a 100-percent emergency surcharge by the state's Medical Professional Liability Catastrophe Loss Fund (CAT Fund).From 1997 until Sept. 11, 2001, rates for major private insurance carriers in Pennsylvania rose between 80.7 percent and 147.8 percent.In 2002, the increase in filed rates ranged from 40 percent to 50.3 percent.For 2003, similar rate increases were filed.
Skyrocketing medical liability insurance rates are causing doctors to:
Defer the purchase of new equipment or the hiring of new staff.Limit services, leave the state or retire early.Practice defensive medicine to avoid frivolous lawsuits.
Source: Pennsylvania Medical Society Web site