GE MedPro Drops Texas EP’s

At the end of the following article CNN.com – Doctors hope law boosts patient care is a paragraph which is, now, ironic.

One carrier, Texas Medical Liability Trust, announced before the Sept. 13 vote it would cut rates by 12 percent on Jan. 1. Two others, GE Medical Protective of Fort Wayne, Ind., and The Doctors Co. of Napa, Calif., are considering similar cuts.

Our ED group started getting registered letters Saturday notifying them that MedPro will not be renewing any of their policies, “to decrease the number of Emergency physicians” they cover. There’s a cut!

90% of the docs in our group are covered by MedPro, and now my colleagues are going to have to apply for new coverage, in a uncertain market, many now having outstanding suits from the flurry of filings just before the new tort laws went into effect. (I’m with another company, and praying I’m with them in the future).

So much for tort reform fixing our medmal problems. Next: Insurance Reform.


Comments

  1. R.G. Lacsamana says:

    Our colleagues in Texas are not alone in this agony. MedPro did the same thing in Florida, two months after the state legislature passed a cap of $500,000, not $250,000 as targeted, and froze indefinitely premiums from the five remaining companies insuring physicians. MedPro’s departure would leave about 400 physicians scrambling for new coverage, which may be more expensive.

    Physicians in Florida are skeptical that the new law would make much of a difference, so much so that the Florida Medical Association recently passed a resolution for a constitutional amendment to cut down on contingency fees for trial lawyers, to be placed on the ballot for next year’s elections.

    The fight for tort reform is not by any means over. Along with efforts waged in individual states, we need to support broader campaigns in Congress to support President Bush in his push for national tort reform. The U.S. Senate is now the crucial battlefield; what we can do there ultimately will decide whether we can practice our profession without the albatross hanging on our necks for so long, and whether we can keep access to health care open to all Americans.

  2. Dr. Lacsamana, was it any particular specialty that was singled out to be dropped, or was it by hospital, geographic, what? It strikes me as odd that, given the special protections EP’s have under the new tort laws here in Texas they’d want to keep us on.

    And, thanks for reading, and for your thoughtful comments.

  3. Weren’t the trial lawyers arguing that prop 12 would be a financial windfall to insurance companies?
    [snicker]
    Seriously though- I wonder when things will calm down, and carriers will return to Texas. If we get to the point where there is only one provider, then they can raise rates something huge until other companies step in and introduce competition into the market. Rates will drop again, but the interim raise would look very bad for any future attempts at tort reform.

  4. This has already happened in Arkansas. We have had tort reform for quite a while and the only effect we have seen is the insurance companies continue to raise our rates. We are down to one carrier for the state, and as you guessed the rates keep going up. We had over a 50% increase in premiums this year and will have another 50%+ increase next year. As much as I dislike plaintiffs attorneys, tort reform is not the end-all answer to our problems. The insurance companies have us where they want us. The charge outrageous malpractice premiums, and they pay us pennies on the dollar for the work we do and all we can do is sit back and take it. (Where is all that AMA money going?) Even with tort refrom we have not seen a drop in malpractice claims. The thinking on this is that instead of the attorneys getting rich on a few malpractice cases, they have to resort to the McDonald philosophy of volume business (million and millions served or sued in this case). It seems all this effort fix the problems just causes more problems. I wonder if it is too late to apply to law school? JUST KIDDING>

  5. R.G. Lacsamana says:

    As far as I know, MedPro is withdrawing altogether from Florida, which means that all physicians now covered, from every specialty, will be affected.

    A letter to the editor in the Orlando Sentinel about two weeks ago on this matter, coming from a general surgeon, would indicate that the loss of coverage will affect everybody.

  6. I just got my letter from TMLT notifying me of my 12% rate cut for next year. I think that one of the potential advantages to a Texas only company is that you can count on Prop 12 making a difference, whereas MedPro is dealing with a medmal crisis nationwide with few states having protection in place. Still, dropping all of one specialty seems inappropriate.