The New Mexico Patient Compensation Fund (“PCF”) was established in 1978 by the New Mexico Medical Malpractice Act NMSA 1978, § 41-5-1, et seq. The PCF is funded solely through the surcharges paid by its participants and is administrated by the Superintendent of Insurance.
The purpose of the PCF is to promote the availability of coverage for medical professional liability to health care providers practicing in New Mexico. The PCF provides an excess layer of coverage to doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers who qualify under the provisions of the Medical Malpractice Act. The PCF provides limitations on monetary awards, time limits for filing claims, and mandatory panel review of claims.
Most health care providers participating in the PCF meet the financial responsibility requirements of the Act by purchasing medical malpractice insurance policies written on occurrence policy forms at $200,000 per claim from PCF authorized insurers. These insurers collect the primary layer of premium and the PCF surcharge from the health care provider and remit it to the PCF.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that four New Mexico physicians sued the New Mexico Superintendent of Insurance contending that his office improperly permitted dozens of health care providers, including high-risk hospitals and associated outpatient facitilites, to pay into and participate in the PCF from 2009 to 2017 as a result of alleged secret “backdoor deals,” without complying with the New Mexico Administrative Procedures Act that requires an open process. As a result, the plaintiffs allege that there were no studies conducted to determine the appropriate amount of proceeds that should be paid by the providers to offset potential medical malpractice claims paid from the PCF, which threatens the finacial viability of the PCF. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that a state auditor issued a report in 2017 that found the PCF to be fiscally unsound. The PCF reportedly has a projected deficit of $55 million.
In September 2018, a District Court judge rejected the New Mexico Superintendent of Insurance’s argument that the process his office used for admitting the hospitals and other providers was not required to comply with the New Mexico Administrative Procedures Act because his office was not creating new rules but simply implementing the New Mexico Medical Malpractice Act, ruling that the Superintendent of Insurance had violated the Administrative Procedures Act by admitting more than 50 providers without following a public process. The judge has not yet issued a written opinion setting forth the manner in which the paties are to proceed in order to cure the violations.
If you or a loved one were harmed due to medical negligence in New Mexico or in another U.S. state, you should find a New Mexico medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state, who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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