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State Senator Discusses Medical Malpractice

A prominent state leader cites medical malpractice as an issue that Maryland needs to closely examine and potentially make changes to as the state implements federal health care reform.

Sen. Thomas "Mac" Middleton, a Charles County Democrat and chair of the state's Senate Finance Committee, addressed malpractice and attendant issues while speaking at a conference for health professionals last week. He appeared as part of a panel that featured Health Department Secretary John Colmers and executives from the health insurance industry. Middleton could have a big say in any new changes to state law going forward if he wins re-election as a senator.

Discussion focused centrally on the legal risks assumed by health care providers and on the effect that medical malpractice insurance costs have on both prospective and practicing doctors.

Given that the event was sponsored by Group Benefit Services, an insurance provider to smaller businesses, another focus was the oft-cited concern of insurers that the threat of lawsuits figures prominently into health care costs (unstated at the event is the counterweight assertion of others that the specter of malpractice suits has a salutary effect on health care as a strong safeguard against shoddy professional practices and treatment).

Middleton stated that, "We will look at the cost of medical malpractice insurance," as well as any perceived effect it has on the personal decisions of individuals about entering the medical field. He added that he was uncertain "whether the legislature has the will to make more changes."

Related Resource: times-news.com "Middleton: Legislature needs to tackle health reform issues" August 2, 2010

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