The New Jersey Hospital Association (HJHA) announced that a survey of premiums for medical malpractice coverage determined that the average quote for 2003 is around $1.9 million, compared to $1.1 million in 2002.
The survey reported that New Jersey hospitals have experienced increases in their med mal insurance premiums of 378 percent in the last five years. The average premium in 1999 was $389,000. “The findings are based on initial responses to a survey of the state’s 117 hospitals. A total of 55 hospitals returned the survey, for a response rate of about 47 percent. NJHA expects to finalize complete results early next month,” said the announcement.
“For the average hospital, a $1.9 million annual bill can be staggering -especially considering all the other financial burdens it must bear,” stated NJHA President and CEO Gary Carter. “These growing costs are undermining hospitals’ ability to continue offering accessible and quality healthcare to their patients – not to mention depleting their medical staffs of respected physicians who are fleeing the state because of out-of-control premiums.
“This information underscores the importance of a long-term solution to this problem, a remedy that will address these growing pressures on hospitals as well as physicians,” Carter continued. “Five years ago, we may not have recognized the start of a troubling trend. But with five years of data showing rapid increases, it’s clear that we need reforms that will reach to the very core of our tort system. A problem this persistent will not be cured with a one-time Band Aid.”
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