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Governor Rendell Says Medical Malpractice Insurance Continues to Show Signs of Significant Improvement
Date:4/23/2009

Both Mcare and court claims lower than in 2003

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today said that the most recent data from the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund (Mcare) and the Pennsylvania courts point to significant improvement in the medical malpractice climate in Pennsylvania and the success of administrative, legislative and judicial reforms that have been made since 2002.

"Pennsylvania is a success story when it comes to medical malpractice reforms," Governor Rendell said. "When Mcare claim payments began to decrease after 2003, some argued that it was a temporary phenomenon. However, Mcare claim payments have decreased each year since 2003, and Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille reported earlier this month that, in 2008, medical malpractice claim filings of all types and verdicts against health care providers statewide declined by 41 percent.

"Our actions have worked. Thanks to thoughtful legislative reforms passed in 2002, along with aggressive judicial and administrative reforms implemented since then, the number of malpractice cases being filed and the cost of malpractice insurance continue to drop."

The 2008 court statistics are compared against "base year" 2000-02 data. The base years are the period just prior to two significant rule changes made by the Supreme Court after statutory changes by the General Assembly.

The first change required attorneys to obtain from a medical professional a certificate of merit that establishes that the medical procedures in a case fell below applicable standards of care. The second change required medical malpractice actions to be brought only in the county where the cause of action took place -- a move aimed at eliminating so-called "venue shopping."

"Chief Justice Castille said he believes the evidence proves that the sharp drop in medical malpract
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
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