Doctors get checks from medical liability relief fund

About 1,200 New Jersey physicians received $16 million last month to help pay their medical liability insurance, according to the state’s Dept. of Banking and Insurance.

The payments to eligible ob-gyns, neurosurgeons and radiologists are from a state subsidy fund set up in 2004 to ensure doctors could afford coverage. They represent the last relief available from the Medical Malpractice Liability Insurance Premium Assistance Fund, which expired at the end of 2007.

Medical Society of New Jersey officials agree with state insurance regulators that the subsidy fund helped steady the medical liability environment and kept doctors practicing in the state. But MSNJ general counsel Lawrence Downs called it a “Band-Aid approach,” adding that more comprehensive measures are needed to improve the liability climate.

“Our hope is with the sunset of this fund, we can reopen the dialogue on more structural reform … and take a more rational approach to compensating plaintiffs in medical malpractice claims,” Downs said.
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