Progress Seen in 2005 Medical Malpractice Reforms

Jul 25, 2007, 01:00 ET from Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association

    HARTFORD, Conn., July 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When Connecticut
 state legislators passed a series of medical malpractice insurance and
 litigation reforms in 2005 (Public Act 05-275), considerable debate ensued
 regarding the cause of skyrocketing insurance premiums paid by doctors.
 While convincing evidence supported the view that insurance company profits
 and the normal business cycle were the cause of these increased premiums,
 Connecticut passed a law designed to address the issue.
     Two recent reports make clear that, regardless of the cause, both
 doctor's insurance premiums and the number of lawsuits have gone down. A
 recent report by the Connecticut State Department of Insurance released in
 April 2007, reported that premiums for the top five medical malpractice
 insurers as declining by 10% from 2005 to 2006. Last week, the Connecticut
 Judicial Branch released its annual assessment of all cases and case types
 filed and disposed contains data for the years 1990 through 2007. The
 average number of medical malpractice case filed in the six years preceding
 the passage of the 2005 reforms was 378. The average number of cases filed
 between 2005 and 2007 was 306, after the legislation had passed, with only
 288 cases filed during the most recent period 2006-2007.
     On June 14, 2005, the Hartford Courant described this measure as taking
 "... reasonable steps that should become law." Whether the new law was
 necessary or helped address a real problem, these recent reports make clear
 that the situation in Connecticut has improved dramatically.
     Additional provisions in the 2005 Act directs judges to review jury
 awards above $1 million to determine if they are excessive, directs the
 Department of Public Health to establish guidelines for disciplining
 incompetent doctors and requires the Department of Insurance to approve
 rate increases greater than 7.5 percent with a provision allowing for any
 affected parties to request a public hearing to challenge the proposed rate

SOURCE Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association