Tchula, Mississippi — A legendary Mississippi physician who was forced to close his four clinics serving the poorest Delta residents on January 1st called upon President Bush to meet with him about how his medical malpractice insurer canceled coverage using the powers of a new tort reform law in the state.
Reverend Dr. Ronald Myers, who has had no malpractice claims against him in his 16 years of practice and travels 50,000 miles per year through the Delta to care for his flock, was featured on Good Morning America Wednesday morning. “It is a case of insurance company greed over human need,” Dr. Myers told Good Morning America. President Bush, under the guise of saving clinics from closure, has been advocating for the tort reform measures that helped put Dr. Myers out of business.
“Tort reform gave my insurer the power to cancel my coverage and close my clinics, ” stated Dr. Myers. “President Bush must recognize that regulating insurance companies is the only way to force companies to make coverage available and affordable, not giving the companies greater power to discriminate.”
Myers states that the Medical Assurance Company of Mississippi dropped coverage for his clinics because the low income communities Myers practices in have been deemed ‘judicial hellholes,’ even though there has not been a single malpractice verdict in those counties. He contends racism and redlining are what is driving the insurer’s decision to drop coverage.
Recently enacted Mississippi tort reform legislation has given new power to the Medical Assurance Company of Mississippi, as the state’s only medical malpractice insurer, to decide who and who does not practice medicine in Mississippi and where they practice. “Under the guise of ‘risk management’ the Medical Assurance Company of Mississippi attempted to coerce me to allow them to review all my private patient medical records without their consent,” states Dr. Myers. “I was told that my medical malpractice insurance policy would not be renewed because I would not cooperate with their intrusion into my patients privacy rights. Such reckless actions by any malpractice insurance carrier should not be tolerated.”
Myers has sued the company, but has been forced to close his practice because his malpractice insurance policy was not renewed on January 1st. A key member of the Board of Directors of the Medical Assurance Company is Dr. J. Edward Hill, Jr., the President-elect of the American Medical Association (AMA) — who is advocating Mississippi’s tort reform measures nationally.
The Santa Monica-based Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) is working with Dr. Myers to educate the public about the need to reform insurance companies. FTCR pioneered insurance regulation in California with insurance reform Proposition 103, which has saved doctors hundred of millions of dollars in their malpractice premiums.
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