The Changing Landscape of Medical Liability in Ohio

Effect of OSMA Enacted Medical Liability Reforms

Liability Rates Are Coming Down

During the height of the medical liability crisis in Ohio, MLI premiums increased an average of 105 percent from 2001-2005. Following the enactment of the OSMA-backed tort reforms, the medical liability marketplace began to stabilize and since 2006 MLI premiums have decreased by an average of 25 percent.

 

Competitive Medical Liability Marketplace
In 2000, Ohio had nearly 30 medical liability carriers competing in the medical liability insurance market. By 2003, the state was left with only 5 carriers, three of which were showing increasing financial difficulty. Today, due to the stability of the marketplace, Ohio now has 15 companies writing medical liability coverage for physicians.

Medical Liability Case Filings are Down Significantly
According to data collected by the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI), medical liability claims filed between 2005 and 2010 are down more than 40 percent. Click here to view the 2010 Closed Claim Report

OSMA Frivolous Lawsuit Committee- Holding Trial Lawyers Accountable
Since its inception in 2003, the OSMA Frivolous Lawsuit Committee has been pursuing strategies to combat the problem of nonmeritorious lawsuits filed against OSMA physician members. In seeking out judicial relief from frivolous conduct by personal injury lawyers, three OSMA physician members have been awarded damages by the court and now the committee is pursuing sanctions against the trial lawyers.

Reforming the Medical Liability System in Ohio

In 2002-03, the OSMA and its members helped enact 20 sweeping medical liability reforms. These reforms have provided physicians with relief from the liability crisis – more than what any other state in the nation has accomplished.

The Medical Liability Reforms include:

  • $350,000 cap on “pain and suffering” awards which helps make the system more predictable for insurers and medical providers;
     
  • Statute of Repose, which limits the time frame in which any liability claim can be filed to four years from the last date of treatment;
     
  • Statute of Limitations, limits the time frame once an injury is discovered in which a liability claim can be filed to one year after the discovery;
     
  • Proportionate liability, which means you only pay damages proportionate to your share of the medical negligence;
     
  • Affidavit of Merit signed by an expert witness in the same specialty as the defendant that attests to the merit of any liability lawsuit;
     
  • State Medical Board jurisdiction over out-of-state physician expert witnesses, which gives the board the ability to discipline any physician that provides false or completely baseless medical testimony;
     
  • “I’m Sorry” law, enables physicians to express apology, sympathy or condolence regarding an unanticipated patient outcome, and protects such expressions or statements from being used as an admission of liability in a subsequent lawsuit;
     
  • Peer Review Protection that ensures any information disclosed in peer review is protected from discovery in a subsequent medical liability claim;
     
  • Good Samaritan Law extends liability protection to any physicians that care for indigent patients in their office;
     
  • Notice of Requirements holds insurance companies accountable by requiring that they explain the reasons behind non-renewals or premium increases, and increases the time period that they provide physicians of nonrenewals or significant premium increases from 30 to 60 days.

More Work To Be Done

We realize that liability insurance remains a major expense for Ohio physicians. That is why the OSMA continues its efforts on your behalf, and will work with you to keep you informed of changes that may affect your coverage. OSMA’s Court Watch program will monitor for potential cases that will affirm/challenge Ohio’s tort reform laws. For more information on the OSMA Medical Liability Reforms, please call the OSMA Government Relations Group at (800) 766-6762, or email at govrel@osma.org.

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