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Michigan State Medical Society Says Rate Drop Shows Tort Reform is Working
Date:11/20/2007

thstood constitutional challenges from the trial bar, according to Doctor Womack. Unfortunately, tort reforms in Illinois were overturned on November 13, prompting the Illinois State Medical Society to issue a news release stating that the "verdict could derail health care access."

"Over the past 13 years, the Michigan Supreme Court has supported the obvious intent of Michigan legislators to improve the medical liability climate in our state so that their constituents, our patients, will be able to have access to the physicians they want and need," Doctor Womack said.

Previously, many physicians who practiced in high-risk specialties such as obstetrics, neurosurgery, and orthopedic surgery often left Michigan for states where lawsuits were not as frequent and jury awards were not as high.

"The news about medical malpractice rates announced today certainly is good news for our efforts at the Michigan Health Council," said MHC vice president Susan Sanford, who heads a program called "Practice Michigan." "We believe that improvements to Michigan's practice environment will directly correlate to our success in recruiting and retaining physicians here."

Michigan is a more favorable place to practice than many neighboring states, Doctor Jackson said.

He said a neurosurgeon practicing today in Detroit pays a manual rate of $201,512 for a $1 million/$3 million policy, while a colleague in Chicago, where tort reform was just overturned, pays $256,404 -- a difference of $54,892.

As part of the 1993 tort reforms, the licensing fee that physicians pay to the state was tripled. The extra money was earmarked for the Attorney General's office to conduct investigations of patient complaints against physicians.

During this same time period, roughly the past two decades, a nationwide movement also has been underway focusing on risk management education for physicians and their practices, as well as on patient safety and quality initiat
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SOURCE Michigan State Medical Society
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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