AMA says Massachusetts joins those in liability crisis

The American Medical Association (AMA) recently announced that Massachusetts has become the 20th state in a full-blown medical liability crisis due to its deteriorating medical liability climate and the growing threat of patients’ losing access to care.

Using recent data from the Massachusetts Medical Society, the AMA cautioned that patients’ access to care may be in jeopardy as increased medical liability costs force physicians to restrict the services they provide, including no longer performing trauma surgery or delivering babies. High-risk specialists in Massachusetts reducing their scope of practice include 50% of neurosurgeons, 41% of orthopedic surgeons, 36% of obstetricians, and 29% of general surgeons.

Reports from the Massachusetts Medical Society indicate that there are only 23 neurosurgeons based outside of Metro Boston to serve 39 hospitals, and the time to recruit a neurosurgeon has increased from nearly 23 months in 2002 to nearly 30 months in 2004.

Massachusetts now joins Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming as states in crisis.