The Doctors Company Completes Acquisition of American Physicians Capital, Inc.
October 26, 2010
side note: The acquisition of Michigan-headquartered AP Capital positions California-based The Doctors Company to better compete in the Midwest. Consolidation and growth.
The Doctors Company, the largest national insurer of physician and surgeon medical liability, today announced that it has completed its acquisition of American Physicians Capital, Inc. (AP Capital), the parent company of American Physicians Assurance Corporation (American Physicians), a major provider of health care liability insurance in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and New Mexico.
With the addition of more than 7,000 physician policyholders, The Doctors Company further expands its position as the largest national insurer of physician and surgeon medical liability to almost 55,000 member insureds.
“The combination of these two physician-founded companies strengthens our ability to defend, protect, and reward the practice of good medicine,” said Richard E. Anderson, MD, FACP, chairman and CEO of The Doctors Company. “We are pleased by the enhanced value that The Doctors Company will be able to offer physicians, including unparalleled service, exceptional financial strength, and outstanding policyholder benefits. Among those benefits is our unrivaled Tribute® Plan, which rewards physicians for their loyalty to The Doctors Company and to the practice of good medicine.”
Upon renewal into The Doctors Company, physicians insured by American Physicians will automatically participate in the Tribute Plan.
In connection with the closing of the transaction, AP Capital’s common stock is being deregistered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and delisted with NASDAQ, and public trading of AP Capital’s securities will cease trading at the close of the market today. AP Capital will function as a wholly owned subsidiary of The Doctors Company, and its operations are being integrated with the company’s existing operations. The company will continue to maintain AP Capital’s East Lansing, Michigan, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, offices.
see press release
Tort Reform Proponents use attack ads target Illinois Supreme Court justice
October 25, 2010
side note: Politics at its lowest are at play in Illinois. Special interest groups looking to remove Justice Kilbride for his recent ruling that declared Illinois tort reforms unconstitutional, are using negative, questionable attack ads that question his toughness on crime. Rather than resorting to faceless businesses making questionable attacks, why don't we try to educate the electorate on the benefits of tort reform and write laws that pass constitutional muster?
In a visceral and well-funded attack on Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas L. Kilbride, radio listeners throughout Illinois can hear actors portraying the state's nastiest criminals explain how the judge sided with them over their victims.
"I was convicted of sexual assault on a woman and her 10-year-old daughter," says the actor playing Paul Runge, the last of three heinous felons featured in the campaign ad. "Then I slashed their throats and burned them. … Unfortunately for felons like us, other justices overruled Kilbride and our convictions stood."
The radio spot portraying Kilbride as soft on crime is part of a coordinated campaign by business interests trying to make the Democrat the first Supreme Court justice in state history to lose a retention vote for another 10-year term.
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While the campaign focuses on what Kilbride calls "gross distortions" of his record in criminal cases, the real aim of the Illinois Civil Justice League is to dump a judge they see as unwilling to stop large jury awards given to plaintiffs in malpractice and other negligence lawsuits.
Mediation Now Mandatory in Connecticut Medical Malpractice Cases
October 25, 2010
Connecticut recently enacted a law that requires parties in a medical malpractice action to attend at least one session of mandatory mediation before moving forward with the lawsuit. The mandatory mediation requirement was included in a broader patients’ rights bill (SB 248) signed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
Under the new law, the presiding judge is required to refer medical malpractice cases to a 120-day period of mediation, or another form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) of the parties’ choosing. The mediation must be completed before the close of pleadings, which generally occurs after the complaint and answer have been filed with the court.
The law also requires the mediation session occur within 20 business days after the initial referral and be overseen by the presiding judge or another designated judge. The law stipulates that if the parties do not come to an agreement by the end of the first session, they have the option of moving forward with additional mediation sessions or returning to court to resolve their dispute.
In cases where the parties choose to move forward with mediation, the presiding judge must refer the case formally to mediation, which must be overseen by a Connecticut-licensed attorney experienced in medical liability actions.
Even if the parties agree to attend additional mediation sessions, they can still abandon the mediation at any time and return to the traditional litigation process. If the parties come to an agreement on any of the issues before returning to court, they can stipulate to these matters in the court case. The cost of mediation is split equally between the plaintiffs and defendants.
The mandatory mediation measure was passed in-part due to pressure from the Connecticut medical community. Concerned about rising medical malpractice insurance premiums, doctors, hospitals and defense lawyers lobbied the state to take action to limit the number of meritless medical liability claims. While the medical community preferred to see the legislature create health courts or implement caps on medical malpractice jury awards, mandatory mediation became the compromise.
The mandatory mediation law comes seven years after the Connecticut General Assembly passed a similar law to help reduce medical professional liability insurance premiums and meritless legal claims. In 2003, the state legislature passed a law requiring those wishing to file a medical malpractice suit to first obtain a certificate of good faith from a healthcare professional—with similar training as the healthcare provider named in the lawsuit—maintaining that there is evidence to suggest malpractice has occurred.
Statistics show that the number of medical malpractice actions filed in the state decreased once certificates of good faith became a requirement. Proponents of mandatory mediation hope the new ADR law will provide similar results and further help reduce the number of medical liability lawsuits in Connecticut. Both plaintiff and defense lawyers are skeptical that the mandatory mediation law will have much of an impact on the rate of settlement of medical malpractice claims.
One of the biggest potential problems with the law is the timing of the mediation. Legal commentators say that requiring the parties to attend mediation so soon in the legal process—before the close of pleadings—is too early. They argue that at this stage in the process, discovery has not begun, expert witnesses have not been deposed and the true value of the case generally is unknown. They contend that asking victims of medical malpractice to accept a settlement before the true extent of their damages has been determined is simply unfair.
Additionally, hospitals or physicians admitting to negligence so early on is unlikely. This is particularly true for doctors who may face other repercussions for admitting to medical malpractice, including reporting the act to the state Department of Public Health and facing possible disciplinary action. Moreover, most medical malpractice insurance policies include a “consent to settle” clause that requires the insurer to gain the approval of the physician prior to agreeing to a settlement. Thus, if the doctor is unwilling to settle so early in the case, then mediation cannot be successful.