Doctors Still Able to Obtain Liability Insurance After Being Sanctioned Multiple Times

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice
Have you always thought that a doctor would go out of business after being sued a number of times? Or that he would lose his license or ability to get insurance if he'd been sanctioned more than once by The State's Medical Board? Well that just isn't the case. Many of these doctors can still obtain insurance and stay in business. Though it does come with a high price.

The Medical Malpractice Insurance Pool of New York State (MMIP) affords insurance to those doctors that are the worst of the worst in New York State and don't qualify for traditional medical liability insurance. These doctors can't obtain regular malpractice insurance because they have either been sued numerous times, been sanctioned multiple times by the Medical Board, or have lost their hospital privileges temporarily in the past due to negligence. The MMIP supplies insurance to approximately 585 physicians each year with rates that are about 200% higher than those with traditional insurance.

According to the State of New York Insurance Department, MMIP was created pursuant to N.Y. Ins. Law § 5502(c)(2)(D) and N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, Part 430 (Regulation 170), as an "assigned risk mechanism" for providing medical malpractice insurance to all eligible health care providers who are unable to secure coverage in the voluntary market. According to the department, participation by insurance companies in the Pool is determined annually on the basis of "net direct premiums written during the preceding calendar year" An insurer that writes 0.01% or more of its medical malpractice net premiums in New York is required to participate in the Pool; insurers that do not write 0.01%, do not have to participate.

However, local insurance experts assert that MMIP is actually a little known subsection of the Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Company (MLMIC), which is the largest insurer of physicians in New York State. I am puzzled by the conflicting information. Perhaps MLMIC is the only company that writes 0.01% of its net profits in New York. Or perhaps it voluntarily chooses to insure these individuals and be part of the pool. There is a dearth of information on MMIP, perhaps because the legislature doesn't want it getting out that it passed legislation that to help negligent doctors obtain insurance.

Either way, I was extremely surprised to find out that MLMIC participates in MMIP. MLMIC, which was created in the
1970’s by the Medical Society of the State of New York to replace private carriers that had fled the costly medical insurance business, was always a name that I had always felt was somewhat responsible when it came to choosing which doctors to it would insure. I always assumed that MLMIC would never insure the types of doctors that are being afforded insurance through the MMIP Program. All I can hope is that MLMIC is required to participate through the afore mentioned legislation, Unfortunately, there is no way to find out who is actually insured through MMIP. Although information on whether a doctor has been sued, sanctioned, or had hospital privileges revoked is public, it can sometimes be a hassle to figure it out. I think it would just be easier if the public could know who was had to obtain MMIP insurance so that they could easily steer clear of them if they so choose.
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