Maryland Senate Bill 195, which passed its Third Reading in the Maryland Senate on a vote of 45-to-zero on March 10, 2017, if signed into law as originally drafted, would require physicians licensed in Maryland to (1) maintain medical professional liability insurance in the amounts of $500,000 per occurrence or claim and $1.5 million per annual aggregate or attest that the licensed physician is covered by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), the Maryland Tort Claims Act (MTCA), or medical professional liability insurance by the physician’s employer for these amounts; (2) have insurance or coverage that is appropriate for the individual physician’s circumstances; and (3) comply with any implementing regulations adopted by the State Board of Physicians (MBP).
Original Senate Bill 195 also provided that a physician must provide MBP with verification or other documentation of the required insurance or coverage as a condition of initial licensure and license renewal or reinstatement. A physician must also submit the documentation upon MBP’s request.
If the physician’s insurance or coverage is canceled, the physician must notify MBP at least 10 days prior to the effective date of the cancellation. MBP must notify a physician if the physician fails to submit verification or other documentation of coverage or fails to maintain the required insurance or coverage.
MBP may deny an initial license or refuse to renew or reinstate a license if the applicant fails to submit verification or other documentation of coverage or provides false verification or documentation. MBP may also reprimand a licensee, place a licensee on probation, or suspend or revoke a license if the licensee (1) fails to maintain the required insurance or coverage; (2) fails to submit verification or other documentation; or (3) provides false verification or documentation.
Current Maryland Law Regarding Medical Malpractice Insurance Requirements for Physicians
Maryland does not require physicians to carry medical malpractice insurance. However, according to the Medical Mutual Liability Insurance Society of Maryland (MMLIS), the largest medical professional liability insurance carrier in Maryland, physicians are required to carry medical malpractice insurance limits of $1 million per occurrence or claim and $3 million per annual aggregate in order to obtain hospital credentialing and to participate in health plans. The vast majority of physicians insured by MMLIS carry these limits (fewer than 12 physicians insured by MMLIS carry limits below these amounts).
Maryland’s Cap On Noneconomic Damages In Maryland Medical Malpractice Cases
The Annotated Code of Maryland, Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article, provides that the cap for noneconomic damages is $785,000 for health care malpractice causes of action arising in 2017. The cap applies in the aggregate to all claims for personal injury and wrongful death arising from the same medical injury, regardless of the number of claims, claimants, plaintiffs, beneficiaries, or defendants. However, if there is a wrongful death action in which there are two or more claimants or beneficiaries, the total amount awarded may not exceed 125% of the cap, or $981,250 in 2017.
Requirements Regarding Medical Malpractice Insurance Coverage For Physicians In Other U.S. States
According to the American Medical Association, at least seven states (Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin) require physicians to carry minimum levels of medical malpractice insurance, ranging from $100,000 to $1 million per occurrence and $300,000 to $3 million per annual aggregate. At least another seven states (Indiana, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming) require physicians to carry minimum levels of coverage to qualify for state liability reforms, including caps on damages or patient compensation funds. In addition, at least five states (Alaska, Florida, Montana, Ohio, and Oregon) require physicians or similar providers to notify a patient if they do not have medical professional liability insurance.
If you or a loved one may be the victim of medical malpractice in Maryland, you should promptly consult with a Maryland medical malpractice attorney who may investigate your medical negligence claim for you and represent you in a Maryland medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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