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Report: Docs Not Fleeing Medical Liability

March 2, 2009

Denver - Doctors aren't running scared. That's the finding of a recent report that looks at the notion that physicians are fleeing states without caps on medical malpractice judgments, fearing higher medical liability costs. The report from the American Association for Justice uses data from the American Medical Association.

Denver attorney Michael Mihm says that even with Colorado's legal cap on the amount victims can recover in medical malpractice cases, the state actually has fewer doctors per capita than states without such caps.

"The statutes that limit the recovery of ordinary people injured by medical negligence have got nothing to do with physicians' decisions to stay in the state."

He says doctors decide where to live and work the same way as everyone else.

"You know, good schools, is it a nice place to live; it's got nothing to do with the caps on medical malpractice recovery."

Mihm says reform of Colorado's malpractice statutes would mean fair treatment for people injured through medical negligence.

"It would mean that they can obtain fair recovery and be compensated fairly for their injuries. And that just isn't the case today."

Insurance companies and business groups have argued in recent years that large medical malpractice verdicts were driving doctors away from states without caps. But Mihm says the reality is that states that put caps in place didn't see a larger increase in the number of physicians than states without caps, and many states with caps have actually attracted fewer doctors.

More on the report is at www.justice.org

Eric Mack, Public News Service - CO