More than 2,500 doctors in Georgia do not have medical malpractice insurance, representing just under 8% of the total number of doctors licensed in Georgia. Some of the Georgia uninsured doctors have histories of illegal drug use, sexual misconduct, patient deaths, and other serious misconduct.
A law passed by Georgia in 2011 requires that physicians licensed to practice medicine in Georgia must report to the Georgia state medical board (the Georgia Composite Medical Board) whether they have medical malpractice insurance. Under the Georgia law, the state medical board is required to collect the information regarding physicians’ medical malpractice insurance coverage at the time they renew their medical licenses every two years, which the board is then required to post online in the physicians’ public profiles. However, the Georgia state medical board has not yet provided the status of physicians’ medical malpractice insurance coverage in their online public profiles due to budgetary constraints (the Georgia Legislature has not appropriated money for the state medical board to comply with the law).
A recent analysis of Georgia physicians with regard to their medical malpractice insurance coverage found that of the more than 29,500 doctors holding Georgia medical licenses, 2,536 reported that they did not have medical malpractice insurance. Of the 2,536 Georgia licensed doctors who reported that they did not have medical malpractice insurance, 113 had been sanctioned for violations of the regulations of the Georgia state medical board, with nine of them presently on probation.
Uninsured Georgia doctors include one who had settled a medical malpractice claim for $900,000, one who had been sanctioned for performing unnecessary surgeries, and another who is precluded from treating cancer patients after several patients were injured or died. Some of the uninsured doctors were retired and others were unlikely to be sued for medical malpractice because they were involved with research, teaching, or administrative activities in which they did not have direct patient contact.
An investigation into uninsured Georgia doctors by a Georgia newspaper determined that more than 12 uninsured Georgia doctors were involved with direct patient care, including some who performed cosmetic surgery and others whose treatment regimens are questioned by the FDA and medical organizations.
The investigation found that the major reason for doctors not having medical malpractice insurance is cost: in Georgia, medical malpractice yearly premiums range from almost $13,000 for general practitioners to $44,000 for surgeons and to $65,000 for obstetricians. Premiums are even higher if a doctor has a history of medical malpractice claims or board disciplinary actions.
Only a minority of U.S. states make it mandatory for doctors practicing medicine in those states to have medical malpractice insurance. In Georgia, only acupuncturists are required to carry liability insurance.
If you or a loved one may have been injured (or worse) due to medical negligence in Georgia or in another U.S. state, you should promptly consult with a Georgia medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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