The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says it has added four states to its list of "red alert" states where OB/GYNs have the greatest difficulty obtaining or affording malpractice insurance.
The new entries--Georgia, Ohio, Oregon and Virginia--join Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington on the ACOG list, the college says in a release.
In addition, ACOG says crises are "brewing" in Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Utah.
The college says factors for putting states on the red alert list are too few insurers writing new policies, high premiums and rate increases, lack of progress in reforms and shortages of OB/GYNs.
The college reports it has launched the "Who Will Deliver My Baby?" lobbying campaign, which uses OB/GYNs and their patients and is focusing on passage of the HEALTH Act in the U.S. Senate.
The bill would put a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages in malpractice cases for all physicians.
ACOG also released some statistics about OB/GYNs' malpractice insurance:
- Nationally, premiums rose an average of 19.6% in 2002, a 100% increase from 2001's average rate increase of 9.2%.
- Increases vary wildly by state, or by region within some states, ranging from 30% to 400%.
- The average premium was $56,546 in 2002.
- The median award for childbirth cases is $2.05 million, which is the highest median award for any type of medical liability case.