NU Online News Service, June 27, 5:15 p.m. — Washington
Physicians are responding to medical liability insurance rate increases in ways that could reduce patient access to health care, according to researchers from The Lewin Group, Falls Church, Va., and the American Hospital Association, Washington.
When the researchers reviewed recent survey data, they found that rates for key specialties are increasing in every state and skyrocketing in some.
In Pennsylvania, for example, typical 2002 rate increases for liability insurance for internal medicine providers, general surgeons and obstetrician/gynecologists ranged from 40% to 81%, the researchers write in an analysis in the June edition of the AHA’s TrendWatch newsletter.
“Some physicians are retiring or relocating to areas with lower premiums, and hospitals are reporting increased difficulty securing physician coverage,” the researchers write.
Physicians are also cutting back on high-risk services, such as delivering babies and handling certain types of surgery, the researchers report.