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Conn. ob/gyns pressure state legislators with ob surcharges

A practice of 150 ob/gyns in Connecticut will begin charging an extra $500 per pregnancy this month to help cover its medical liability premiums. When Women's Health Connecticut announced its plans in May to implement the liability surcharge, it said it would forgo the fee if state legislators passed "meaningful medical malpractice reform," reported American Medical News (6/14/04).

The practice's surcharge is designed to force the hands of state legislators, who had passed a reform bill that did not include a cap on noneconomic damages in medical liability cases. That bill was vetoed by Connecticut's governor with the support of physicians, who want stronger tort reform to help curtail dramatic increases in insurance premiums.

Other states are watching how a liability fee will be received by patients, legislators, and insurers. The state's attorney general is also looking into the legality of the practice's action.