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Massachusetts

Recent Reforms Enacted (since 2003) Reduced the pre-judgment interest rate from 12 percent to a variable rate tied to the average rate of Treasury Bills.  2012 “Disclosure, Apology and Offer”, a key provision of the new state health cost law, deals with medical errors and malpractice by disclosing mistakes, apologizing to the patient and family when appropriate and offering compensation as a way to avoid litigation when possible.
Emergency Care Provision None
Reform Elements In Law $500K Soft Cap
Collateral Source
Attorney Fee Limit
Pre-Trial Screening
Pre-judgment interest
Apology
Constitutional Status of Reforms Untested
Change in Insurance Rates AMA reports at least one insurer raised rates as much as 25 to 40% in 2004. T  was an 11 percent average increase from the ProMutual Group, the state’s leading commercial insurer in 2004 following a 20% hike in 2003. In 2005, ProMutual announced it would not increase rates for the coming year. Since 1998, rates increased 99 percent compounded. (A.M. Best 2004)
Insurance Availability More than 1,600 Massachusetts physicians were impacted in the wake of Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Company (MLMIC) leaving the Commonwealth. MLMIC’s departure leaves only two commercial insurers remaining. (AMA)
Change in Physician Availability Information not available.
Change in Cases Filed/Awards Bd of Registration in Medicine reported a decline in the number of jury awards and settlements from 332 in 2001 to 276 in 2003. Avg. payments rose to a record $431,016 in 2003.  Median settlements increased from $600,000 in 2000 to $925,000 in 2002 (Mass. Lawyers Weekly) Settlements of $1 million or more increased from 12 in 2001 to 26 in 2002. (Cape Cod Times, Oct. 6, 2003)  250 paid claims in 2003 or 8.8 per 1000 active nonfederal physicians.  US avg. was 18.8 per 1000.  260 paid claims in 2005 or 9 per 1000 active nonfederal physicians.  US avg. was 17.1 per 1000. (Kaiser) 261 total number of paid claims for 2006 or 8.0 per 1,000 active, non-federal physicians. 280 paid claims in 2007.
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