Thursday, January 24, 2008
As part of a series of Ohio reforms, the Insurance Department was required to compile data on medical malpractice claims. The initial report was issued last year, making this the first year a comparison could be conducted. In 2005, there were 5,051 med mal claims filed in the state. In 2006, only 4,006 claims were filed, a decrease of approximately 20%.
The Insurance Department attributed the decrease to changes made by lawmakers five years ago. Those changes included caps for pain-and-suffering, and attempts to restrict "frivolous" claims against doctors. The story is here.
Because Texas seems to have had an influx of physicians following relatively similar tort reforms in 2003, I was curious whether Ohio had been likewise affected. The State Medical Board of Ohio has licensing statistics on its website, but only through 2005. I don't see any evidence that the reforms had a significant effect on licensing, but I didn't run statistical tests on the figures. Will more data show bigger changes? Will the Ohio Supreme Court's blessing of the tort reforms convince other doctors to come? Or is there something that separates Texas from Ohio? The weather? The lack of a state income tax?