The Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee is scheduled to hear A-1831 on Thursday, marking an important step toward addressing deep concerns about the cost of liability insurance within the medical community.
Sponsored by Chairman Herb Conaway (D-Burlington), A-1831 would prevent insurance carriers from raising liability premiums based on a claim of medical practice, unless the physician is found liable in court, and would prohibit insurers from increasing liability premiums in certain charitable or emergency situations.
This legislation would also provide civil immunity to healthcare professionals who volunteer their services in good faith. Civil immunity would be available to volunteer healthcare professionals who do not have an active provider-patient at the time of the emergency. As our population outpaces the number of physicians we need to adequately care for the health of New Jersey residents, volunteer healthcare professionals will become increasingly important. By offering civil immunity to these volunteer medical personnel, A-1831 takes a step toward addressing our New Jersey’s public health needs.
Practicing specialized medicine in New Jersey is comparatively difficult for recent medical school graduates. In addition to their student loans, new doctors must bear New Jersey’s high cost of liability insurance premiums. Specialties which carry some of the highest premiums, including obstetrics and gynecology, disproportionately impact New Jersey women. It is no longer cost effective for many existing OBGYNs in New Jersey to deliver babies, and many have stopped doing so altogether. It’s not just a matter of addressing a significant healthcare cost-driver; it’s also about ensuring that New Jersey residents – especially women – have access to medical care.
The hearing will take place at 10 a.m. in committee room 16.