Malpractice investigations

Insurance Journal reports on changes in the way the State of Maryland will deal with investigations of potentially problematic physicians in yesterday’s edition. In a study conducted by the Baltimore Sun newspaper, 120 of the state’s approxinmately 17,000 physicians were found to have five of more malpractice claims in a ten-year period.
The review of the state’s policies was initiated when a new review board found the staff was swamped and overloaded, investigating too many situations where problems did not appear to be significant. In revamping the criteria, the review board decided to:
“investigate automatically only when doctors settle three cases for $150,000 or more each over five years. Pinder (head of the review board) said the board also reviews any doctor who resolves a claim about care in the past five years with a payment of at least $1 million”
There were 11 settlements over $1 million, and only 4 physicians met the three cases for $150,000 or more over five years criterion.
There are wide differences among the states in the criteria and process for investigating physicians, ranging from Nevada and Pennsylvania which investigate each and every claim, to Massachusetts which reviews any physician with three or more claims in a ten year period.

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