Four-hospital Memorial Health Services, based in Long Beach, Calif., will obtain malpractice insurance discounts for staff doctors who follow clinical practice guidelines.
The discounts, currently under negotiation, would average about 20% per physician, shaving about $4,000 from a $20,000 annual premium for an obstetrician, said Thomas Collins, Memorial's president and chief executive officer. Memorial has 1,200 staff physicians.
Negotiations are under way with American Continental Insurance Co./MMI, Deerfield, Ill., Thomas added.
"If we can wire all treatments into certain protocols, there are no horrible (mistakes), and the course of treatment is legally defensible. That's the cornerstone of underwriting," Collins said.
The rules "give us a little more confidence from a rate-making standpoint," said MMI Chairman Rick Becker. MMI insures 600 institutions and 14,000 doctors nationwide.