New Jersey is treacherous ground for physicians.


Few people deny that the earth is getting warmer.  And few people deny that New Jersey’s exodus of doctors (the so-called “Medical Brain-Drain”) will affect New Jerseyans’ access to healthcare.


There are likely many reasons behind this phenomenon, as the Department of Health and Senior Services Summit (S173), if enacted, hopes to uncover.  High cost of living and a lack of tax incentives are frequently cited, as are the costs of liability of insurance (click here for one New Jersey’s medical student’s story).


And with respect to the number of claims filed against physicians each year, New Jersey is an outlier among states.


Comparing New Jersey to Ohio, for instance, is revealing: despite having a population which exceeds New Jersey’s by two and a half million, the Garden state had 630 medical liability claims in 2011 to Ohio’s 287.   New Jersey even managed to surpass Texas, which has nearly three times the number of residents, in the number of medical liability claims last year (Texas had 550 claims in 2011, in case you were wondering).


“A physician shortage crisis is right around the corner in New Jersey if we do not take immediate steps to change course,” J. Richard Goldstein, president and CEO of the New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals, said in a 2010 news release. “National health reform, while laudable and needed, will only work to accelerate the time when there simply will not be enough doctors to serve New Jersey’s adults and children.”


Should meaningful medical liability reforms continue to stagnate, despite Dr. Goldstein’s warnings, New Jersey will continue to educate other states’ physicians, at the cost access to care for New Jersey’s residents.