The malpractice insurance paid by our hospital has also risen $3 million this fiscal year and we will take a loss. All hospitals and doctors in our area are in the same boat. To quote an article that appeared in the newspaper today:
"The entire medical malpractice debate has come to a head in recent months as doctors have stated they can no longer afford to pay for malpractice insurance and will have to move to other states where their rates are less. Hospital spokesmen say they will have to cut essential services, including trauma centers and emergency rooms, if they lose the neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons who have been hit hardest by the increasing rates."
One of the CEO's of a local hospital recently traveled to London(!) to attempt to acquire insurance and he is quoted:
"They (a London insurance co.) told us what they consider to be the three least attractive markets in the world for professional liability insurance: Southeastern Pennsylvania is number one (
), followed by Australia and Czechoslovakia."
"The reasons are subject to debate.
Hospital administrators and doctors say it is because of an endless string of frivolous lawsuits, ridiculously high jury awards-- especially in Philadelphia-- and the lack of statewide tort reform.
"The lawyers answer right back that it's because doctors make too many mistakes, and the insurance industry is cyclical and is in the midst of a downturn.
'And the market in Pennsylvania has fallen apart due to corruption, mismanagement and breach of fiduciary duty,' said Cliff Reiders, president of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association."
At our hospital, we have already lost a general surgeon and will be losing a pulmonary M.D. in the next few months to other states. I'm sure there are others who have left that I'm unaware of. I also believe in people being compensated for mistakes made by incompetent docs, but there is such a "Win-the-Lottery" mentality with some patients and their lawyers that until true tort reform is enacted, a crisis is looming and has actually, already begun.