West Virginia malpractice reforms: "Worked like a charm"

Another success story:

Reforms that West Virginia legislators enacted in a medical malpractice crisis have worked like a charm.

Doctors who could not keep up with malpractice premiums five years ago now see their rates dropping.

Where five years ago insurers slashed their West Virginia business or cleared out, today dozens of insurers compete for premiums of doctors and hospitals.

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  • Evan

    Correlation does not prove cause. Can it be shown that:

    a) West Virginia’s reforms caused fewer malpractice events?

    b) West Virginia’s reforms caused cases that would otherwise have been found to be malpractice and WERE malpractice not to go to trial?

    c) West Virginia’s reforms caused cases that would otherwise have been found to be malpractice by a a jury but were NOT malpractice not to go to trial?

    d) Because of changing costs for insuring doctors, insurance companies now are writing more policies for doctors in West Virginia?

    or

    e) The stock market now makes the loss ratio for medical malpractice more favorable in West Virginia due to some combination of the above events and rates are dropping?

    Here are the facts from the article:

    “According to the West Virginia Board of Medicine, the cost of malpractice settlements dropped from about $172 million in four years before the act to about $139 million in four years after the act.”

    And we also read:

    “Statewide, physicians and surgeons paid about $78 million for malpractice insurance in 2005. Hospitals paid about $26 million.”

    So here’s what I see.

    About 104 Million are spent in malpractice premiums PER YEAR.

    At the very WORST the average amount paid out in claims was 43 million dollars. Now the amount being paid out is about 32 million dollars per year.

    Med/Mal insurance was not felt to be “profitable” when the total amount being made per year was around 60 million, but was felt to be so when the total amount was around 70 million.

    And people talk about “inefficiency” in the health care system? The insurance industry has INSANE amounts of inefficiency.

  • Anonymous

    The particulars are unimportant. It works. Case closed.

  • Anonymous

    wow!

    who would figure W.Virginia would be the state paving the way

    now to get them to pass this one
    HB4359 (overseas med insurance)

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/2/4/105428/3568

    some real enlightened thought in the state where “Mountaineers are always free”

    cheers!

  • Anonymous

    “The particulars are unimportant. It works. Case closed.”

    You sound like you work in the Bush Administration. Facts are irrelevant – we believe it, therefore it’s true.

  • Anonymous

    “You sound like you work in the Bush Administration. Facts are irrelevant – we believe it, therefore it’s true.”

    I know it is a hard pill to swallow, but the fact is malpractice rates are dropping. All the misinformation that ATLA is trying to interject here is a smoke screen.

  • Evan

    Misinformation?

    Now we have reached the point where basic math is misinformation?

    Is there some fault in the figures I mentioned, some problem with my logic?

    Lemme know. As for the “ATLA” being involved … wow. I’m a doctor. Doctors typically like to know if what they did made a problem better or if the problem got better for factors other than what they did. You may not be a doctor so you may not be aware of this, but I am.

  • Anonymous

    “I know it is a hard pill to swallow, but the fact is malpractice rates are dropping. All the misinformation that ATLA is trying to interject here is a smoke screen.”

    No kidding they are. We all know that. Do you ever wonder why they’re dropping in states with “reform” and without it?

    Or does your deductive reasoning not stretch that far?

  • DBR

    Evan noted: “Statewide, physicians and surgeons paid about $78 million for malpractice insurance in 2005. Hospitals paid about $26 million.” About 104 Million are spent in malpractice premiums PER YEAR. At the very WORST the average amount paid out in claims was 43 million dollars. Now the amount being paid out is about 32 million dollars per year. Med/Mal insurance was not felt to be “profitable” when the total amount being made per year was around 60 million, but was felt to be so when the total amount was around 70 million. And people talk about “inefficiency” in the health care system? The insurance industry has INSANE amounts of inefficiency.”

    An accounting of “payouts” covers the cost of monies actually paid to plaintiffs and their lawyers (generally 30 to 40%).

    On average, only 30% of medical malpractice suits end with ANY payment to the plaintiff OR the plaintiff’s lawyer. 70% end with no payment to the plaintiff.

    However, the DEFENDANT’s lawyer must be paid whether the case yields a “payout” or not.

    On average, a non-court case costs about $25,000 PER DOCTOR (as most cases name multiple physicians as defendants.) A case which goes to court (81% of which are decided by a jury IN FAVOR OF the plaintiff physician, which also means that no “payout” is involved) costs about $90,000 PER DOCTOR to defend.

    Payouts are only a PORTION of medical liability insurance expenses – and while Dr. Evan may not represent ATLA, he’s using one of their most beloved misinformation tactics – deleting defense costs from the analysis of whether or not malpractice insurers are “profitable” or not….

  • Anonymous

    Correlation does not prove cause.

    Ahhh…. could you please explain that to the Jury?

  • Anonymous

    I jus be’s wonderin’ if dat Doc Evan be’s won of dem ho’s dat Criminalopathetic be’s talk’in about all da time?

  • Evan

    90,000 dollars per doctor.

    That is a number we can work with also from the text.

    “Court judgments seldom happen. According to the Board of Medicine plaintiffs received 110 judgments from 1993 to 2005 – about one every six weeks.”

    That means that if there is a judgment against a doctor every 6 weeks that would be a total of 8.6 judgments per year against doctors. With an 80% rate of findings for the plaintiffs, that would lead to a total number of cases where the finding was for the doctor per year of 32 or thereabouts per year.

    32(90,000)= 2,880,000.

    Wow. You really proved your case there.

    Those years the insurance companies made 104 million per year on premiums. They paid out about 43 million on cases they lost and a SHOCKING total of 3 million defending cases they won. I now see the tight margin they live on.

    Am I the only one here who can read and do math?

  • Anonymous

    Wow. I didn’t realize how lucrative the medmal insurance business is. You would think the insurers would be trampling each other at the door to get in??

  • Anonymous

    A measured, carefully crafted response from the John Edwards bar: “(hands over ears) “La, la,la, la, la, la,la,…I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”

  • Anonymous

    “On average, a non-court case costs about $25,000 PER DOCTOR (as most cases name multiple physicians as defendants.)”

    Donna, just 4 years ago, you said the cost was $14,000. Are insurers now paying attorneys twice as much?

    I know facts aren’t your strong suit, but damn!

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