The Medical Malpractice Crisis in Missouri
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Missouri is facing a healthcare crisis that could result in fewer doctors, higher costs, less access, and an unfair environment for patients and their families if the legislature does not pass medical malpractice reform. On July 31, 2012, the Missouri Supreme Court overturned the state’s limit on non-economic damages in medical negligence cases by ruling the cap violated the right to trial by jury, overturning more than 20 years of precedent. If the Missouri House of Representatives and State Senate do not pass legislation this year, more money will be diverted away from patient care and into the hands of personal injury attorneys.
What Happened Between 2002-2005 When Missouri Had Ineffective Caps on Non-Economic Damages?
- The number of companies writing policies in Missouri dropped from 32 to 8.
- In 2002, 27% of physicians limited their scope to avoid high-risk patients and procedures.
- In 2004, 49% of physicians admitted the insurance costs caused them to cut staff positions and 28% were compelled to forego updating or acquiring new technology.
- Among neurosurgeons, 53% refused to accept Medicaid patients, 23% refused to accept Medicare patients, and 66% reduced the services they could otherwise provide to their communities.
- By 2004, 1 in 10 Ob/Gyns quit practicing obstetrics due to insurance costs.
What Happened Between 2005 and 2012 When Caps were in Place?
- Missouri gained approximately 1,000 physicians.
- There has been a $44 million decrease in written liability insurance premiums.
- The number of claims filed has fallen 46.9%
- The average indemnity on paid claims fell 20%
Bills of Interest:
House Bill 118: Establishes a statutory cause of action replacing the common law action for damages against a health care provider for personal injury arising out of the rendering of or failure to render health services. Status: Read for second time
Senate Bill 239: Creates a statutory cause of action for damages against health care providers
House Joint Resolution 22: Proposes a constitutional amendment limiting the liability for noneconomic damages and authorizes the General Assembly to adjust the amount as necessary by law. Status: Read for second time.
Senate Joint Resolution 7: This proposed constitutional amendment, if approved by the qualified voters of this state, provides that the right to the determination of punitive damages by a jury shall remain inviolate, except that no award for punitive damages shall be greater than five hundred thousand dollars or five times the net amount of the judgment awarded to the plaintiff against the defendant. Such limitations may be reduced by law, and shall not apply if the defendant pleads guilty to or is convicted of a felony arising out of the acts or omissions pled by the plaintiff. Status: Read for first time.
Tort Reform Coalition
Missouri State Medical Association
Missouri Hospital Association
Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians & Surgeons
Missouri Health Care Association
Missouri Pharmacy Association
Missouri Insurance Coalition
Washington University School of Medicine
Missouri Radiological Society
Leading Age Missouri
Missouri Association of Rural Health Clinics
Missouri Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons
Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists
Missouri Optometric Association
Missouri Society of Pathologists
Missouri Sleep Society
Missouri Dermatological Association
Missouri Association of Nurse Anesthetists
Missouri State Neurological Association
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Missouri Section
Missouri Academy of Family Physicians
Missouri Ambulatory Surgery Center Association
Missouri Society of Interventional Pain Physicians
Missouri Psychiatric Association
Missouri College of Emergency Physicians
Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers
Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
National Federation of Independent Business
St. Louis Area Business Health Coalition
The Keane Insurance Group
Missouri State Orthopaedic Association