Recent Reforms Enacted (since 2003) Requires certificate of merit signed by expert before a case can go to trial, strengthens expert witness guidelines, provides "I'm Sorry" protection, and empowers state regulators to reject proposed liability insurance rate increases. (2005)
Emergency Care Provision None
Reform Elements In Law

$500K Cap
Certificate of Merit
Expert Witness Guidelines

Constitutional Status of Reforms In February 2010, the state Supreme Court ruled that the state's $500,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical liability cases was unconstitutional.  The cap had been implemented as part of a reform package in 2005.
Change in Insurance Rates In April 2005, ISMIE Mutual, which provides coverage for about 60% of the physicians in the state, announced plans to freeze premiums. News reports stated that premium notices received by physicians indicate likely increases of 30 to 50% in 2005.  The AMA reports at least one insurer raised rates more than 100% in 2004. ISMIE announced in early 2006  that it will reduce rates by an average of 5.2% starting in July 2006, but some practices saw increases of up to 25%.  The state department of insurance had ordered ISMIE to cut premiums by at least 3.5% for FY 2006-2007. In the fall of 2007, news reports indicated that premiums had fallen for many physicians from between 5% and more than 30%.
Insurance Availability In November of 2006, a new insurance company, Doctors Direct, was formed to compete with ISMIE. The company believes it can provide reduced premiums for high-risk specialists. Another insurer, MedPro also anticipated increasing its business in the state.
Change in Physician Availability Information not available.
Change in Cases Filed/Awards In 2003 Copley News Service reported frequency of lawsuits filed jumping 36% over the last nine month period.  491 paid claims in 2003 or 13.6 per 1000 active nonfederal physicians.  US avg. was 18.8 per 1000. 403 paid claims in 2005 or 11.1 per 1000 active nonfederal physicians.  US avg. was 17.1 per 1000. (Kaiser) 358 total number of paid claims for 2006 or 8.7 per 1,000 active, non-federal physicians. 340 paid claims in 2007.
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