New company comes to aid of doctors

Novant’s New Star will offer them better control of malpractice-insurance premiums

By M. Paul Jackson

Novant Health said yesterday that it has formed a medical-malpractice-insurance company to help its physicians better control their medical-malpractice premiums.

The company, New Star Inc., will be based in Winston-Salem and will serve Novant’s doctors in North Carolina and South Carolina. Novant’s 691 doctors have joined the New Star group, officials said.

New Star will help provide insurance discounts for Novant’s physicians. The hospital system said it decided to form the company in response to doctors’ complaints about their insurance bills.

“Assembling physicians with similar philosophies of quality patient care and safety under one insured umbrella is an idea whose time has come,� said Dr. Elms Allen, the executive vice president of medical-staff services at Forsyth Medical Center.

Novant is based in Winston-Salem and operates Forsyth Medical Center, Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte and Brunswick Community Hospital in Supply.

Medical-malpractice insurance typically covers physicians for liability claims filed against them by patients and attorneys.

More doctors – particularly those who perform high-risk surgeries – are complaining about sharply rising medical-malpractice insurance premiums. Nationally, doctors’ malpractice-insurance premiums are increasing an average of 15 percent a year, nearly twice as much as total health-care spending per person, according to Novant officials.

Some specialists surveyed by Novant reported paying more than $50,000 a year in insurance premiums.

“Since we have the infrastructure in place to help manage malpractice risks with our practicing physicians, it was a logical step for us and part of our continuous emphasis on quality improvement throughout the Novant Health system,� said Paul Wiles, the president of Novant.
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