In Pennsylvania, healthcare practitioners are required to contribute to a state-managed fund (the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund) that helps defray the cost of damage awards in medical malpractice cases.
In August, a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled that Pennsylvania’s insurance commissioner must recalculate how much healthcare practitioners much pay into the plan. The Pennsylvania Medical Society, the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Podiatric Medical Association had petitioned the Commonwealth Court for a reduction, claiming that their members had been significantly over-assessed on payments to support the fund. (Assessments are based on several factors, including medical specialty and geographic areas served.)
The medical associations claimed that from 2009 to 2011, their members were overcharged because state officials did not calculate assessments properly and neglected to include carryover balances in the fund when calculating assessments.
A majority of the court agreed, and ordered recalculation of the fund assessments for the years 2009 through 2011. Once the recalculation has taken place, the total dollar amount overpaid and how it will be awarded back to practitioners will still need to be determined.