Delaware Amends Insurance Law to Let Retired Surgeons Serve Veterans

August 4, 2008

A new Delaware law makes it easier for some retired doctors to practice for the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Elsmere.

The legislation eliminates an insurance barrier preventing retired surgeons from working at the hospital. Under existing law, the retirees couldn’t provide surgical services without the risk of losing coverage against allegations of malpractice that arise from their past private practice.

The legislation prohibits insurance companies from canceling the so-called “tail coverage” for doctors who leave retirement to work at the VA.

Senate Bill 269 came about in response to a shortage of surgeons at the Veterans Medical Center in Elsmere, a situation that its supporters said caused some Delaware veterans to have to go to Pennsylvania or Maryland for surgeries. A number of retired doctors had offered to perform surgeries at the VA hospital, but were being hampered from doing so by a provision in their former medical malpractice insurance policies.

S.B. 269 was sponsored by Sens. George Howard Bunting and Patricia Blevins and Reps. Terry Spence and John Kowalko.

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