Addressing both sides in the medical malpractice insurance debate, Missouri Gov. Bob Holden is proposing an insurance risk pool for some doctors who have difficulty finding coverage and a new state agency to reduce medical errors and improve patient safety.
"It is important that Missouri not misdiagnose the problem," the Democratic governor said in a release last Thursday. "We must strike the right balance between the need to make sure that physicians have access to affordable coverage and the need to ensure patient safety and victim compensation when they suffer real damages."
The proposed risk pool would be "a short-term state-sponsored insurance program, financed primarily by physician premiums, to ensure availability of coverage," the release says. "Eligibility would be limited to physicians in specialties that have experienced the largest rate increases and are most essential to public safety."
Holden's proposed Missouri Commission on Patient Safety would aim to "reduce the likelihood of medical negligence that prompts lawsuits," the release says.
"In the best of all worlds, we would have fewer awards and less need for expensive malpractice insurance because fewer patients would become victims of preventable medical errors," Holden said.