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Ohio

Recent Reforms Enacted (since 2003) Establishes a sliding cap on noneconomic damages, not to exceed the greater of $250,000 or 3X economic damages, up to a maximum of $350,000. Collateral sources of payment may be introduced. Abolishes joint and several liability. (2003). Allows the Director of Insurance to create a Medical Liability Underwriting Association upon a finding of need. $12 million placed in a Medical Liability Fund that can be used for the Medical Liability Underwriting Association or another medical malpractice initiative. Protects providers in expressing sympathy to a patient. Requires expert witnesses to practice in the same or substantially similar specialty as the defendant. Requires certificates of merit. Requires insurers to give advance notice before raising premiums or canceling policies. (2004)
Emergency Care Provision None
Reform Elements In Law $250-350K Cap
Collateral Source
Joint Liability
I’m Sorry Law
Expert Witness
Affidavit of Merit
Periodic Payments
Constitutional Status of Reforms Untested. In 1999, the state supreme court overturned a previous law that capped awards. In 2004, the court ruled that different family members cannot file separate suits against a provider for the same incident. In 2007, The court ruled that Ohio’s business non-economic damage cap and punitive damage cap are constitutional. The ruling does not apply to medical negligence claims, but sets a favorable precedent when medical liability caps are challenged.  In a 6-1 Ruther v. Kaiser ruling, the Ohio Supreme Court reversed lower courts in upholding a four-year statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims that the General Assembly enacted in 2003. (2012) 
Change in Insurance Rates AMA reports at least one insurer raised rates as much as 40 to 100% in 2004.  The Ohio Medical Malpractice Commission reported that the five largest insurers increased rates by an average of 30% in 2003, with much larger increases in some regions and within certain specialties including emergency medicine. After additional rate hikes in 2004 and 2005, four of the state's five largest medical malpractice insurers revised their rates to produce an average decrease of almost 2 percent for Ohio doctors in 2006, according to the Department of Insurance. The 1.7 percent decrease in rates follows an average increase of 6.7 percent in 2005, and hikes of 20 percent in 2004 and 30 percent in each of the two previous years.
Insurance Availability Five insurers write about three-fourths of liability policies in the state. From 2000-2002, nine insurers left the market prior to the enactment of reforms. Since the reforms were passed, two new insurers entered the market in 2004 and 2005. (Ohio Medical Malpractice Commission).
Change in Physician Availability According to an Associated Press analysis of State Medical Board numbers, the number of obstetrics and gynecology physicians decreased by 5% since 2002 to 1,327 in 2007…despite enactment of liability reforms.
Change in Cases Filed/Awards 577 paid claims in 2003 or 17.9 per 1000 active nonfederal physicians. US avg. was 18.8 per 1000. 415 paid claims in 2005 or 12.5 per 1000 active nonfederal physicians. US avg. was 17.1 per 1000. (Kaiser) However, according to the state Department of Insurance, a total of 5,051 malpractice lawsuits closed in the state in 2005, and 1,046, or about 20%, of the cases resulted in payouts, according to the state Department of Insurance. The payouts in those 1,046 malpractice lawsuits -- either through jury verdicts or settlements - totaled $281,764,938 and averaged $269,374, and 6% exceeded $1 million. 332 total number of paid claims for 2006 or 8.8 per 1,000 active, non-federal physicians. The Ohio Department of Insurance reported 4,006 medical malpractice claims were reported for 2006, with the average claim in which a payment was made risng to $288,080. Kaiser reports 214 paid claims in 2007.
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