Medical Liability Monitor April 2023 issue highlights
April 11, 2023
Below are some headlines and article synopses from the April 2023 issue of Medical Liability Monitor. To read the articles in entirety, please subscribe today.
New Mexico Avoids MedMal Insurance Crisis with Damage Cap Fix
The New Mexico Legislature threaded the needle last month and passed a bipartisan update to the state’s Medical Malpractice Act with just four days left in the 2023 session, averting what could have been a medical liability insurance crisis. Senate Bill 523, drafted in a compromise between trial lawyers and healthcare professionals, caps medical malpractice payouts for independent outpatient clinics — such as urgent care, ambulatory surgical centers and free-standing emergency rooms not hospital controlled — at $1 million, which they say will allow them to maintain medical liability insurance coverage and keep their doors open. Beginning in calendar-year 2024, the cap will adjust annually by the prior three-year average consumer price index. Two previous legislative attempts at fixing the damage cap for independent clinics stalled in committee earlier this year …
Vertical Integration Worsens Patient Outcomes, Increases Costs
Vertical integration within the healthcare delivery system should improve patient outcomes and shrink costs, in theory. When physicians work directly for hospitals, rather than in independent practices, there should be greater efficiencies, coordination and information sharing due to economies of scale. And indeed, the U.S. healthcare system has been headed in that direction for years, consolidating at a rapid rate. The number of doctors who have transitioned from working in independent practices to hospital employment has doubled during the past decade, and the trend looks to continue. But a new Harvard University study finds that in at least one representative area of medicine, gastroenterology, vertical integration is leading doctors to change the way they approach patient care — with consequent adverse effects on patient health and the cost of care. The problem lies in a system of financial reimbursements that incentivizes the wrong behaviors and addressing that issue may offer a solution …
Prior Authorization Toll Exceeds Alleged Benefits, According to AMA Survey
The approval process health insurers impose on medical services or prescription drugs is generating a toll that exceeds the purported benefits, according to a physician survey released last month by the American Medical Association (AMA). While health insurers claim that prior authorization requirements are used for cost and quality control, a large majority of physicians say authorization controls lead to unnecessary waste and avoidable patient harm …
Macroeconomic Conditions, Uncertainty Lead to a Mixed Year For MPL Insurers
Medical professional liability insurers’ direct written premium increased by 5.7% in 2022 to almost $6.7 billion, its highest level since 2006, but adverse macroeconomic trends persist. As has been the case since 2016, the composite continues to rely on investment performance to maintain its profitability as combined ratios remain above 100% and surplus continues to shrink …
Study Accuses P&C Insurers of Fabricating Social Inflation to Price Gouge
A new study of the property/casualty insurance industry, Inventing Social Inflation 2023, alleges commercial insurers have been misrepresenting their actual losses to justify “price-gouging” and push for further restrictions on the tort rights of American consumers. For the medical professional liability line of business, the study’s authors assert that “perhaps no commercial insurance policyholders have been victims of the industry’s manufactured economic cycle crises more than doctors.” They accuse medical malpractice insurers of misrepresenting their actual losses by 37% during the previous hard market to justify rate hikes and ramping up a similar strategy in 2019. The authors point to 2020 and 2021 rate hikes — when malpractice claims dropped precipitously due to COVID-19 physician immunities and closed court systems — as evidence premiums are not connected to actual loss data …
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21st Annual Advanced Forum on Obstetric Malpractice Claims
April 5, 2023
June 27-28, 2023 | The Union League of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Hosted by the American Conference Institute, the 21st Annual Advanced Forum on Obstetric Malpractice Claims returns in June with curated content that will ensure that you stay current on the evolving standards of care, emerging theories of liability, and new defense strategies.
This year’s co-chairs include Joseph S. Picchi (Managing Stakeholder, Galloway, Lucchese, Everson & Picchi) and Daryl Zaslow (Shareholder, Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP). Obstetrics malpractice claims continue to be the most expensive within the medical malpractice arena. As medical science in the field of obstetrics continues to make innovative discoveries, develop rapidly changing advances in medical technology, and provide increased access to new information, there are higher demands on standards of care – unfortunately leading to higher areas of risk, and subsequently, higher malpractice claims. It is crucial that all parties involved in the obstetric malpractice continuum – medical professionals, risk managers, insurance professionals, plaintiff and defense attorneys – stay current on these latest developments as well as claims impacting this area of practice.
During this one-of-a-kind event, our unparalleled faculty of claims specialists, risk managers, medical experts – as well as an outstanding array of plaintiff and defense attorneys – will share their insights and provide practical guidance for addressing some of the most complex medical and litigation challenges.
To learn more visit http://bit.ly/3Zcskkw.
Save 10% with the Medical Liability Monitor promo code: D10-999-MLM
New York Regional Society of Plastic Surgeons Selects The Doctors Company as Exclusive Partner
April 4, 2023
The New York Regional Society of Plastic Surgeons (NYRSPS) has chosen The Doctors Company, part of TDC Group, as the exclusively endorsed medical malpractice insurer for its members.
“We chose to endorse The Doctors Company because as an organization founded and led by physicians and owned by members, they share our commitment to address challenges faced today,” said Franziska Huettner, MD, PhD, FACS, and NYRSPS president. “As the largest insurer of plastic surgeons in the nation, The Doctors Company also has an unparalleled understanding of liability claims against our specialty.”
NYRSPS joins many of the most prestigious medical organizations, including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the New York State Society of Plastic Surgeons, which exclusively endorse The Doctors Company because of its physician focus, financial strength, and mission to advance, protect, and reward the practice of good medicine.
NYRSPS members are now eligible for a range of offerings from The Doctors Company, including competitive rates for medical malpractice insurance, and even greater savings if they’re affiliated with a Hospitals Insurance Company health system. As a member of The Doctors Company, NYRSPS members will also receive aggressive defense, expert patient safety tools and programs, access to the Section 18 New York State excess risk management program, and a range of coverage options for both physicians and advanced practice clinicians. Eligible NYRSPS members of The Doctors Company can benefit from the Tribute® Plan, which financially rewards doctors for their loyalty and commitment to superior patient care.
“Our new partnership with NYRSPS reflects TDC Group’s growing strength in the New York market,” said Tammy Clark, CPCU, senior vice president and regional operating officer, The Doctors Company. “Since expanding its presence in New York in 2017, TDC Group has grown to 21,674 New York physician members and $320 million in direct written premiums.”
AM Best Affirms Superior Financial Strength Ratings of Members of MedPro Group
March 30, 2023
AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A++ (Superior) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings of “aa+” of the members of MedPro Group (MedPro) (headquartered in Fort Wayne, IN). These Credit Ratings (ratings) apply to The Medical Protective Company (Fort Wayne, IN), its affiliates: Princeton Insurance Company (Princeton, NJ); PLICO, Inc. (Oklahoma City, OK); Wellfleet Insurance Company (Fort Wayne, IN); and Wellfleet New York Insurance Company (Flushing, NY); as well as MedPro’s two reinsured affiliates, MedPro RRG Risk Retention Group and AttPro RRG Reciprocal Risk Retention Group (both domiciled in the District of Columbia). The outlook of these ratings is stable.
The ratings reflect MedPro’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as strongest, as well as its strong operating performance, favorable business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.
The ratings also acknowledge MedPro’s robust capitalization, long-term operating performance and the significant market position it maintains in the medical professional liability (MPL) sector. Additionally, the ratings consider the group’s substantial distribution capabilities, prudent claims-handling philosophy and culture of maintaining a margin of safety. Furthermore, the ratings benefit from the explicit and implicit financial support provided by the ultimate parent, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. [NYSE: BRK A and BRK B], which includes reinsurance programs, investment opportunities and capital support.
Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are the inherent challenges associated with being a predominately monoline MPL insurer, particularly as they relate to price competition, changing market dynamics, potential changes in legislation (i.e., tort reform), increasing loss cost trends and regulatory risk. At the same time, AM Best recognizes the organization’s strong management team, broad premium base and jurisdictional diversity that mitigate these concerns.
Downward rating pressure may result from a significant decrease in risk-adjusted capitalization from an adverse earnings trend due to underwriting or investment losses. Downward rating pressure also may result should the group’s relationship with Berkshire Hathaway Inc. or National Indemnity Company change, which also would result in a diminution of the business profile.
The Doctors Company Announces $8.5 Million Member Dividend
March 29, 2023
The Doctors Company announced today that it has approved a 2023 premium dividend of approximately $8.5 million, bringing the total of declared dividends to date to more than $455 million.
“We are proud to once again reward members with earned dividends. They are an important manifestation of both our mission to advance, protect and reward the practice of good medicine, and the outstanding outcomes achieved by our members,” said Richard E. Anderson, MD, FACP, chairman and CEO of The Doctors Company and TDC Group.
Dividends of up to 10% were approved by The Doctors Company Board of Governors for eligible members in the following states: Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming. Members of the American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery may also receive a dividend, depending on their eligibility.
Eligible members will receive this year’s dividend on their annual premium for policy renewals on or after July 1, 2023.
Don’t Miss the 21st Annual Advanced Forum on Obstetric Malpractice Claims
March 21, 2023
The American Conference Institute announced that its 21st Annual Advanced Forum on Obstetric Malpractice Claims will happen June 27-28 at the Union League of Philadelphia. This year’s curated content will focus on evolving standards of care, emerging theories of liability and new defense strategies. Co-chairs for this year’s forum include Joseph S. Picchi, managing stakeholder at Galloway, Lucchese, Everson & Picchi, and Daryl Zaslow, a shareholder at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP.
Obstetrics malpractice claims continue to be the most expensive within the medical malpractice litigation arena. As medical science in the field of obstetrics continues to make innovative discoveries, develop rapidly changing advances in medical technology and provide increased access to new information, there are higher demands on standards of care that dictate higher areas of risk. It is crucial that all parties involved in the obstetric malpractice continuum — medical professionals, risk managers, insurance professionals, plaintiff and defense attorneys — stay current on these latest developments as well as claims impacting this area of practice.
During this one-of-a-kind event, the forum’s faculty of claims specialists, risk managers, medical experts, and plaintiff and defense attorneys will share insights and provide practical guidance for addressing some of the most complex medical and litigation challenges in obstetrics.
To learn more and register, visit http://bit.ly/3Zcskkw. Save 10% with the Medical Liability Monitor promo code: D10-999-MLM.
MLMIC Announces the Passing of Its Founder, Donald J. Fager
March 10, 2023
It is with great sadness that MLMIC Insurance Co. reports the passing of its founder, friend and colleague, Donald J. Fager, Esq. (11/9/1930 - 3/6/2023).
An attorney with 48 years of experience in the healthcare professional liability field, Mr. Fager was a noted authority on the subject. He was called upon to provide testimony on medical liability before committees of the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as state legislative committees in states as diverse as New York, Ohio, and Iowa. He was also a member of the Liability and Quality Committee of Governor Mario Cuomo’s Health Care Advisory Board. Mr. Fager was frequently invited to speak on the subject of medical liability by various state and county medical societies, national and state specialty societies, medical schools, hospitals, law schools, Joint Medical Society and Bar Association meetings, American Medical Association programs, and American Bar Association programs.
For 17 years, beginning in 1956, Mr. Fager was a trial attorney for Martin Clearwater & Bell, specializing in the defense of physicians, dentists, and hospitals in medical malpractice cases in New York State. He managed the firm’s Syracuse office from 1964 until 1973. In 1973, he became the indemnity representative of the Medical Society of the State of New York, and in 1975, he assisted the Medical Society in the formation of MLMIC Insurance Company. Today, MLMIC is one of the largest writers of medical liability insurance in the country and a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies.
Mr. Fager was also a founding board member of the Medical Professional Liability Association and a member of the board of trustees from inception until 1991 (the last two years as emeritus). Within MPL Association, he also served as the chairman of the Membership and By-Laws Committee; chairman of the Neurologic Deficit Study Committee; chairman of the Legislative Oversight Committee; and president (1986 and 1987).
A founding member of the National Patient Safety Foundation, Mr. Fager was a member of its board of directors since 1997. He served as a member of the foundation’s executive committee from 2000 through 2003 and the chair of the By-Laws Committee. He was also a member of the board of trustees of the Medical and Health Research Association of New York City, the board of directors of the Physicians’ Home, the board of trustees of the New York State Dental Foundation, and the board of directors of the New York State Dental Association Support Services, Inc.
Mr. Fager served as a member of the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the International Association of Defense Counsel (and a member of its Medical Defense Committee), and the Defense Research Institute, and an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association.
He was the recipient of several awards, including MPL’s prestigious Peter Sweetland Award of Excellence; the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) Foundation’s Award for Outstanding Leadership in Healthcare Professional Liability; and the Onondaga County Medical Society’s Award for Service to Physicians of New York State.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Donald Fager received his Bachelor of Arts cum laude from the University of Notre Dame and his Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law, where he was an editor of the Law Review. In 1956, Mr. Fager was admitted to practice law in New York State and is admitted in U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Northern, and Western Districts of New York. He is survived by his wife, Geraldine, their three grown children – two daughters and a son – and their three grandchildren.
For those who would like to make a donation in Mr. Fager’s name, the family has designated two charities for consideration:
The Bridgeport Rescue Mission https://bridgeportrescuemission.org
Covenant House New York https://www.covenanthouse.org.
Pinnacle Actuarial Resources Announces New Senior Consulting Actuaries, Consulting Actuaries
March 10, 2023
Pinnacle Actuarial Resources announced several consultant appointments. Hongmei Li and Darcie Truttmann were named the firm’s newest senior consulting actuaries and Brittany Henrich, Andrew Krieger and Nicole McArdle were named consulting actuaries.
“We couldn’t be more pleased about these talented individuals joining our consulting team,” Pinnacle managing principal Joe Herbers said. “These are accomplished actuaries with years of experience in multiple lines of business and in different industry sectors including predictive analytics and captive insurance. They broaden and deepen the range of expertise we can bring to bear for our clients, and help those clients make Better Business Decisions.”
Li and Krieger join Pinnacle from a large consulting firm and a large personal lines insurer, respectively. Truttmann has been with Pinnacle since 2005, most recently in a consulting actuary role. Henrich and McArdle have been promoted from the position of associate actuary and both have been with Pinnacle since 2016.
Truttmann and Krieger are fellows of the Casualty Actuarial Society (FCAS). Li, Henrich and McArdle are associates of the Casualty Actuarial Society (ACAS). All are members of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA).
“We are particularly excited that four of five of these appointments are women leaders, each with a track record of stewardship, both inside and outside our firm. Pinnacle is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and the addition of such outstanding consultants strengthens the work we do and the solutions we develop for our clients,” Herbers added.
Medical Liability Monitor March 2023 issue highlights
March 7, 2023
Below are some headlines and article synopses from the March 2023 issue of Medical Liability Monitor. To read the articles in entirety, please subscribe today.
Curi, Constellation to Merge into Organization with National Scope
Curi Holdings and Constellation Inc. last month announced the signing of a merger agreement. Combined, the two organizations intend to build on their legacies of mutual ownership, client service and innovation, while creating a national brand that delivers the products, services and advice that healthcare providers need to thrive in a rapidly evolving healthcare landscape. With more than $2 billion of consolidated assets and generating nearly $400 million in annual revenue, the merged companies will serve more than 50,000 physicians, healthcare providers and organizations across the United States. With minimal geographic overlap between the two companies, the merger positions the combined organization to continue meeting its member-owners wherever they are in their own evolutionary journey …
Iowa Enacts Hard Cap on Medical Liability Noneconomic Damages
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds last month signed a bill into law that limits noneconomic damages to $2 million for medical liability verdicts involving permanent impairment, disfigurement or death against hospitals and $1 million for those types of verdicts against clinics and individual doctors. The state had already capped most medical malpractice awards at $250,000, but had included an exception for those involving permanent impairment, disfigurement or death, for which there was no cap …
Arkansas Weaponizing Medical Malpractice Law to Restrict Transgender Youth Care
An Arkansas Senate panel advanced a bill last month that would make it easier to file medical liability lawsuits against doctors who provide gender-affirming care to minors. The proposed Protecting Minors from Medical Malpractice Act of 2023 would create civil liability for any doctor who “performs a gender transition procedure on a minor … if the minor is injured, including without limitation any physical, psychological, emotional, or physiological injury, by the gender transition procedure, related treatment, or the after effects.” The bill would also grant potential plaintiffs an up-to-30-year statute of limitations for filing a medical liability claim against a doctor who provided them with gender-affirming care as a minor. All other medical liability claims are subject to a two-year statute of limitations under Arkansas law …
Prior Paid Claims Are Predictive of Future Malpractice Claims
Physicians often view malpractice claims as mostly random events that reflect bad luck, rather than a lack of clinical skill. But a paper published Feb. 13 in JAMA Health Forum that examined all paid medical liability claims against U.S. physicians between 2004 and 2018 uncovered strong evidence that paid claims are far from random. Rather, physicians with even a single paid claim are far more likely than those with no paid claims to pay additional claims in the future. The effect held regardless of specialization or whether a doctor’s prior malpractice claims had been disclosed publicly, which suggests that in an average case, patients and attorneys who sued were unlikely to be acting on the belief that they could win a case in a risky subfield or against a vulnerable doctor ...
Nearly a Quarter of Inpatient Visits Had an Adverse Patient Safety Event
Almost a quarter (23.6%) of the inpatient hospital visits in Massachusetts during 2018 had at least one adverse patient safety event, and almost a quarter (22.7%) of those patient safety issues were preventable, according to a new study from Mass General Brigham and CRICO, the medical professional liability insurer for the Harvard medical community and its affiliated organizations ...
Medical Liability Tort Fix Blocked by New Mexico House Panel
The Health & Human Services Committee of the New Mexico House of Representatives last month blocked a bill that would have capped recoverable damages at $750,000 for medical malpractice claims against outpatient facilities not owned or controlled by a hospital. Those facilities otherwise face a $5 million cap set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2024, as part of the state’s 2021 overhaul of its Medical Malpractice Act …
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