NU Online News Service, Jan. 15, 8:54 a.m. – The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Chicago, says many of its 42 member companies believe the threat of malpractice lawsuits and the high cost of malpractice insurance are affecting availability of medical care.

The American Medical Association, Chicago, has identified 12 states with what it says are particularly serious malpractice problems.

In the 12 “crisis states,” 56% of the Blues plans say doctors are leaving their practices or refusing to perform some high-risk procedures because of malpractice suit worries, and 44% say doctors are reducing emergency room calls.

In the other states, 42% say doctors are leaving their practices, 32% say doctors are refusing to perform some high-risk procedures, and 17% say doctors are reducing emergency room calls.