High Medical Malpractice Insurance Rates Causing a Doctor Shortage in Connecticut
Side note: Sky-high medical malpractice insurance rates, and cuts to Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, are causing a shortage of doctors in the state of Connecticut. There is more of a demand for primary care physicians than there is doctors to fill the need; this is especially true in the state’s urban areas. Many patients who receive assistance from Medicaid and Medicare find that they must travel great distances to get treatment, if they can find a doctor to treat them at all. Patients with conventional medical coverage often face the same problems. Even though the doctor shortage is a nationwide problem it is especially prevalent in Connecticut where it is not uncommon for doctors to pay upwards of $175,000 for medical malpractice insurance coverage.
New Haven Independent
by Magaly Olivero
After 17 years as a family practitioner, Ayaz Madraswalla, MD, recently made one of the most painful decisions of his career to remain economically viable: Mansfield Family Practice will no longer accept new Medicare patients. The decision leaves older adults in Windham County – already struggling with a severe shortage of primary care physicians – with one less place to turn to for medical care. “It’s a terrible situation,” said Madraswalla. “But it’s the reality of medicine today.”
In Litchfield County, Dr. William Handelman, a kidney specialist with Nephrology Associates in Torrington, has difficulty finding medical specialists and subspecialists for his patients. Patients who receive Medicaid must travel to the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington. Even patients with private health insurance often wait months and travel great distances for an appointment with a specialist.
“Primary care physicians and specialists across the state cannot keep up with demand and it’s impacting everyone whether you have private insurance or receive assistance from Medicare or Medicaid,” said Handelman, a past president of the Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS). “We’re seeing a huge group of people with health insurance who cannot get in to see a doctor and are going to community health centers in Connecticut and across state borders for care.”