A committee of the Mississippi state senate has approved a plan for a malpractice insurance risk pool with hopes of opening up coverage and luring 12 physicians in the state's Gulf Coast region back to work.
The risk pool would be administered by a state agency, the Mississippi Tort Claims Board, but would not require any state spending except for $500,000 already in the board's coffers, according to a staff member for the senate insurance committee, which approved the bill Friday.
The bill will be heard by the senate appropriations committee this afternoon and, if passed, could be voted on by the senate as early as today, he says.
Backers say the risk pool is necessary because the state's largest insurer, Medical Assurance Company of Mississippi, has virtually stopped writing new policies and other carriers have left the state.
Most recently, Reciprocal of America, which insures more than 500 doctors and 44 hospitals in the state, was taken over by Virginia and Tennessee authorities.
The Gulf Coast walkout began Jan. 27, with the doctors submitting month-long leaves of absence. None of the doctors were dropped by their existing malpractice insurer and have not fond a new carrier.