Docs In Fla., Conn. Rally Over Insurance Rates

|

By Michael Ha

|

NU Online News Service, March 31, 3:21 p.m.EST?Last week thousands of physicians in white lab coatsand surgical scrubs staged rallies in two states, voicing theirconcern for soaring medical malpractice insurance costs.

|

On Thursday, some 3,000 doctors and other health professionalsin Florida gathered at the state Capitol in Tallahassee for anoutdoor rally, calling on legislators to support a $250,000 cap onnon-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.

|

The Florida Medical Association, which organized the event, toldNational Underwriter that the rally was attended by anumber of Republican legislators as well as Gov. Jeb Bush, whoexpressed his support for limiting jury awards onpain-and-suffering damages.

|

The spokesperson for the Florida Medical Association said otherstate officials who joined the rally include Tom Gallagher, chieffinancial officer for the Florida department of financial services,who told rally participants that caps are part of the solution tohelp provide stability in the insurance marketplace.

|

"Physicians in Florida are leaving the state, choosing to retireearly, and ceasing to offer high-risk procedures," the spokespersonsaid.

|

Separately, some 1,600 Connecticut physicians staged a "WhiteCoat Rally" Wednesday on the steps of the state Capitol building inHartford.

|

Amy Cole, a spokesperson for the Fairfield County MedicalAssociation, said the rally was part of the state's annual Doctors'Day event, which is organized by the Connecticut State MedicalSociety every year.

|

"Every specialty was represented, from every part of the state,"Ms. Cole said, emphasizing that the event was not a job action or astrike, but just an effort by doctors to educate legislators abouta growing medical malpractice crisis.

|

She noted precautionary measures had been taken by countymedical associations prior to the rally to maintain adequate staffat local hospitals and prevent any disruption of patient care.

|

Ms. Cole also explained that doctors proposed state legislationthat would limit non-economic damages in medical malpractice awardsto $250,000.

|

"We are not asking for a cap on economic damages. We want tokeep those 100 percent available," Ms. Cole told NationalUnderwriter.

|

"The rally was organized to demonstrate to legislators that themedical malpractice crisis has reached a critical mass and thatthey have to address this issue this year. And this is not aboutdoctors' pockets--this is all about the patient access," shesaid.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free PropertyCasualty360 Digital Reader

  • All PropertyCasualty360.com news coverage, best practices, and in-depth analysis.
  • Educational webcasts, resources from industry leaders, and informative newsletters.
  • Other award-winning websites including BenefitsPRO.com and ThinkAdvisor.com.
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.