ISMIE Mutual Partners with Kentucky DOs

July 31, 2019 by matray

ISMIE Mutual Insurance Co. announced a new affinity program partnership with the Kentucky Osteopathic Medical Association (KOMA). Through the program, KOMA members will receive access to ISMIE’s risk management services, premium discounts and other. Physicians coming out of residency are eligible for special discounts.

“We look forward serving the members of KOMA through this exciting new affinity partnership,” said ISMIE Chairman Paul H. DeHaan, MD. “KOMA joins the Indiana, Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania state osteopathic associations as ISMIE affinity partners. We find that ISMIE’s comprehensive approach to providing medical professional liability coverage aligns nicely with how DOs approach patient care.”

Kentucky osteopathic physicians who are members of KOMA can access the ISMIE affinity program through all ISMIE-appointed brokers. KOMA members can access more information and request a quote at www.ismie.com/KOMA.

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ProAssurance Named a Ward’s 50 Company for the Thirteenth Consecutive Year

July 17, 2019 by matray

ProAssurance Corp. has been named to the Ward’s 50 for 2019. This is the thirteenth-consecutive year the Ward Group has recognized ProAssurance as one of America’s fifty top performing property-casualty insurance companies.

To be included in the Ward’s 50, companies are subject to a rigorous evaluation process that includes financial performance, asset quality and capital position, revenue growth, underwriting results, financial returns and operational excellence.

“Being named to the Ward’s 50 for the thirteenth consecutive year is an accomplishment that highlights the success of our long-term strategy, emphasizing the unrivaled protection and security we offer our customers," said Ned Rand, ProAssurance’s president and chief executive officer. "It is a testament to our employees and distribution partners that we have extended our Ward’s run despite the challenging insurance marketplace in which we operate, made possible by their unyielding dedication to our promise of ‘Treated Fairly’.”

“We recognize ProAssurance for outstanding financial results in the areas of safety, consistency and performance over a five-year period,” said Jeff Rieder, partner and head of Ward Group. “In selecting the Ward’s 50, we analyze the financial performance of nearly 3,000 property-casualty insurance companies, identifying the 50 companies that pass financial stability requirements and demonstrate the ability to grow while maintaining strong capital positions and underwriting results.”

Posted in Medical Malpractice News, ProAssurance Corp. | Leave a comment
A.M. Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Members of MedPro Group

July 11, 2019 by matray

A.M. Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A++ (Superior) and the Long-TermIssuer 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 A.M. 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., 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.

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July 1, 2019 by matray

AMA Abortion Lawsuit Puts Doctors In The Thick Of Debate

The American Medical Association is suing North Dakota to block two abortion-related laws, the latest signal the doctors’ group is shifting to a more aggressive stance as the Trump administration and state conservatives ratchet up efforts to eliminate legal abortion.

The group, which represents all types of physicians, has tended to stay on the sidelines of many controversial political issues, and until recently has done so concerning abortion and contraception. Instead, it has focused on legislation that affects the practice and finances of large swaths of its membership.

But, said AMA President Patrice Harris in an interview, the organization felt it had to take a stand because new laws forced the small number of doctors who perform abortions to lie to patients, putting “physicians in a place where we are required by law to commit an ethical violation.”

One of the laws, set to take effect Aug. 1, requires physicians to tell patients that medication abortions — a procedure involving two drugs taken at different times — can be reversed. The AMA said that is “a patently false and unproven claim unsupported by scientific evidence.” North Dakota is one of several states to pass such a measure.

The AMA, along with the last remaining abortion clinic in the state, is also challenging an existing North Dakota law that requires doctors to tell pregnant women that an abortion terminates “the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” The AMA said that law “unconstitutionally forces physicians to act as the mouthpiece of the state.”

It’s the second time this year the AMA has taken legal action on an abortion-related issue. In March, the group filed a lawsuit in Oregon in response to the Trump administration’s new rules for the federal family planning program. Those rules would, among other things, ban doctors and other health professionals from referring pregnant patients for abortions.

“The Administration is putting physicians in an untenable situation, prohibiting us from having open, frank conversations with our patients about all their health care options — a violation of patients’ rights under the [AMA] Code of Medical Ethics,” wrote then-AMA President Barbara McAneny.

It’s an unusually assertive stance for a group that has taken multiple positions on abortion-related issues over the years.

Mary Ziegler, a law professor at Florida State University who has written several books about abortion, said that the AMA’s history on abortion is complicated. In general, she said, the AMA “didn’t want to get into the [abortion] issue because of the political fallout and because historically there have been doctors in the AMA on both sides of the issue.”

In recent years, the AMA has taken mostly a back seat on abortion issues, even ones that directly addressed physician autonomy, leaving the policy lead to specialty groups like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which has consistently defended doctors’ rights to practice medicine as they see fit when it comes to abortion issues.

Ziegler said it is not entirely clear why the AMA has suddenly become more outspoken on women’s reproductive issues. One reason could be that the organization’s membership is skewing younger and less conservative. Also, this year, for the first time, the AMA’s top elected officials are all women.

In its earliest days, the AMA led the fight to outlaw abortion in the late 1800s, as doctors wanted to assert their professionalism and clear the field of “untrained” practitioners like midwives.

Abortion was not an issue for the group in the first half of the 20th century. The AMA became best known for successful fights to fend off a national health insurance system.

Leading up to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, the AMA softened its opposition. In 1970, the AMA board called for abortion decisions to be between “a woman and her doctor.” But the organization declined to submit a friend-of-the-court brief to the high court during its consideration of Roe.

In 1997, the AMA, in a surprise move, endorsed a GOP-backed measure to ban what opponents called “partial-birth abortions,” a little-used procedure that anti-abortion forces likened to infanticide. A year later, however, an audit of the AMA’s leadership found its trustees had “blundered” in endorsing the bill and had contradicted long-standing AMA policy.

One reason the organization may be moving on the issue now could be the shifting parameters of the abortion debate itself. In 1997, the abortion procedure ban that the AMA endorsed “polled well and allowed abortion opponents to paint the other side as extremist,” Ziegler said.

Exactly the opposite is true today, she said, as states pass abortion bans more sweeping than those seen at any time since Roe v. Wade. Yet most public opinion polls show a majority of Americans want abortion to remain legal in many or most cases.

“As abortion opponents take more extreme positions, the AMA is probably a little more comfortable intervening” Ziegler added.

Molly Duane, a lawyer from the Center for Reproductive Rights who is arguing the case for the AMA and North Dakota’s sole remaining abortion clinic, said the laws being challenged are “something all doctors should be alarmed by. … This is an unprecedented act of invading the physician-patient relationship and forcing words into the mouths of physicians.”

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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