The American Medical Association called for medical liability reform to stem the tide of Maryland’s growing medical liability crisis at a rally held in front of the State Capitol in Annapolis yesterday.
Joining leaders from MedChi, Maryland’s state medical society, Governor Ehrlich and other elected officials, AMA President Donald J. Palmisano, M.D., J.D., spoke to thousands of Maryland physicians, stating, “we are here because a crisis confronts our patients and the medical community.”
Maryland doctors, especially in high-risk specialties, are seeing their medical liability insurance premiums reach “staggering heights.” Some of the state’s physicians are already making the hard decision to limit high-risk services or close their practice.
Dr. Palmisano told Maryland physicians: “You are not alone. In 19 crisis states, physicians are taking early retirement, or abandoning high-risk services, because they cannot afford or find liability insurance.” Maryland is one of 25 states the AMA has identified as on the verge of joining the 19 states already in “full-blown medical liability crisis.”
The AMA’s bulletin noted: “Patients are the ones truly bearing the burden of this crisis as access to care is threatened. The real crisis is when an expectant mother cannot find an obstetrician to deliver her baby, or a trauma patient can’t reach a neurosurgeon in time. We need a solution that’s a proven performer — real reform — to end this crisis.”
In addition to assisting with state reform efforts, the AMA said it is “advocating for national reforms to end the medical liability crisis — including a cap on non-economic damages. The U.S. House of Representatives has already passed legislation based on reforms in place in California, which have been working for 25 years and have saved Californians over one billion dollars a year.”
“Both in the states and in the U.S. Senate, the AMA will fight for real reforms so that America’s physicians and their patients no longer pay the price of our broken liability system,” the announcement concluded.
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