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News of the Day ... in Perspective

2/1/2004

More doctors choosing to “go bare.”

According to the Florida Department of Health Statistics, more than 5% of Florida’s active physicians do not carry professional liability insurance, up from 4% a year ago. In Miami-Dade County, 20% of the doctors are “self-insured” or “bare.”

In December 2002, the AMA dropped its recommendation that physicians carry sufficient malpractice insurance to protect themselves and their patients.

Florida has particularly favorable asset protection laws; creditors can’t seize a home or annuities.

Marc Singer, of Singer Xenos Wealth Management in Coral Gables, FL, recommends that doctors first hire a bankruptcy attorney, rather than a defense attorney, if sued. “What plaintiff’s attorneys fear most in a lawsuit is bankruptcy,” he said, according to Rachel Emma Silverman (Wall St J 1/28/04).

Florida law allows physicians to practice without liability insurance as long as they are responsible for the first $250,000 of a judgment against them. If they fail to pay within 30 days of a judgment, they can lose their license. They must post a notice in their office if they are uninsured.

Additional information:

Medical malpractice reform: the patient’s quick primer.

AAPS statement on liability crisis in Pennsylvania

Insurance meltdown: AAPS News, February 2003

Florida Supreme Court upholds patient compensation scheme challenged by AAPS in Coy v. NICA: AAPS News, April 1992.

News of the Day Archive