Pa. docs cite lack of affordable insurance as reason to move

September 1, 2005

One out of three medical residents in Pennsylvania plan to leave the state to practice specifically because of high liability costs, according to a survey conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Pubic Health.

One out of three medical residents in Pennsylvania plan to leave the state to practice specifically because of high liability costs, according to a survey conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Pubic Health. This finding was corroborated by program directors in the state: The same researchers found that seven out of 10 program directors surveyed saw a decrease in the percentage of residents planning to practice in the state, compared with 3 or 5 years ago.

The survey, which was published in Obstetrics & Gynecology (June 2005), also found that 26.5% of residents and 25% of program directors cited affordable malpractice insurance as one of the top two considerations for residents choosing a place to practice. Additionally, two out of five ob/gyn residents were most likely to cite liability costs as a factor in their decisions on practice location. Among those residents who planned to leave Pennsylvania, more than 65% of ob/gyn and orthopedic residents cited malpractice costs as the primary reason.

The researchers note that their findings suggest a need for "policy or market intervention" to prevent newly trained specialists from leaving states with high liability premiums.