The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, District II
Thousands of New York Women to be Left Without Ob-Gyn Care
Statement from ACOG DII
Albany, NY - March 3, 2011 -- The New York State Chapter of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG District II) is troubled that ob-gyns in the Bronx - who provide care for thousands of high-risk and underserved pregnant patients - will be dropped by the largest and most needed medical liability carrier in New York State. The Physician Underwriting Committee at Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Company (MLMIC) is dropping medical liability coverage for most of the obstetricians who practice at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center. This is the latest example of how critical it is to make meaningful medical liability reform for physicians a reality in New York State.
Each year Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center delivers more than 2,700 babies and provides over 75,000 out-patient visits for women throughout the south Bronx. Over 90% of the patients are Medicaid recipients. Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center has been a recipient of the Health Grades Maternity Care Excellence Award for the past three years. While the Ob/Gyn Department has the highest low birth weight rate in the United States it maintains the lowest neonatal mortality rate. This is a clear indicator of the excellent quality of care provided by the obstetricians.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is to be commended for creating the Medicaid Redesign Team. However, if the proposal is not left intact, the team's efforts will do very little to help the ob-gyns who are paying extremely high premiums. Case in point, the situation at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center. If the hospital closes its maternity unit - it is not because the hospital can't afford the malpractice insurance - it is because the obstetricians can't find medical liability insurance. The indemnity proposal alone does not solve the inability of obstetricians to purchase affordable liability insurance so they can continue to deliver babies in this state. ACOG's solution to this issue would be to establish a no-fault program for neurologically impaired infants which would assess negligence on the part of physicians while lowering premiums for all ob-gyns - including those in private practice. CLICK HERE to read more about ACOG's proposal.
The Bronx community is one of the most underserved populations in New York State. Now, because of the inability of the insurance companies to provide medical liability insurance to obstetricians, pregnant and non-pregnant women will be left without maternity and women's health care. This action will cause a domino effect throughout the region. For example, if the Maternity Unit at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center is forced to close because the obstetricians have no liability insurance, then that could force the closure of the hospital's Ob-Gyn Residency Program, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and a reduction in the Pediatrics Department. High-risk patients will be forced to seek services at neighboring hospitals but already, those hospitals have indicated that they may not be equipped to accommodate their needs. Plus the added medical liability costs (i.e. obstetric premiums) for those hospitals would increase exponentially.
ACOG District II is currently addressing this matter with MLMIC and New York State officials. We remain committed to finding an appropriate solution - for the sake of women in the Bronx and their families.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, District II (ACOG) represents the board certified obstetrician-gynecologists in the state who deliver health care to New York's women. Our Albany office offers the New York State Legislature its resources as a scientific and educational organization dedicated to quality health care for women.
Contact Information: 518-436-3461