High premiums impact numbers of new ob/gyns

September 1, 2005

High medical malpractice premiums seem to have a negative affect on the supply of new ob/gyns. That's what researchers from the University of Michigan reported in a recent issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology (June 2005).

High medical malpractice premiums seem to have a negative affect on the supply of new ob/gyns. That's what researchers from the University of Michigan reported in a recent issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology (June 2005).

The researchers set out to examine the changes in the number of births per ob/gyn in each state between 1995 and 2003. They obtained ACOG membership records to determine the number of Fellows (practicing ob/gyns) and Junior Fellows (ob/gyn residents or recent graduates of an allopathic program who were in practice) in each state. They also used data from the Medical Liability Monitor to determine the 10 states with the highest premiums on average in 2002 and the 10 states with the lowest premiums. State birth rates were obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Among the findings: The percentage changes in births per Fellow were comparable between the 10 highest premium states and the 10 lowest premium states. However, there was a significant difference for Junior Fellows: "(T)he increase in births per Junior Fellow was significantly greater for the 10 highest premium states than the 10 lowest premium states," they wrote. Based on their findings, the researchers concluded, "It is likely that rising premiums are causing the pipeline for new ob/gyns to dry up. This may reduce patient access to and use of prenatal care in the future."