The court case referred to in this communication is Plank vs. Community Hospital. As the trial lawyers have warned, if Plank ultimately prevails in the case, for the first time since 1975 Indiana physicians could face unlimited liability in medical malpractice cases and need to think about asset protection.
And, if our surrounding states are any indication, malpractice insurance rates could double or triple. Indiana physicians have enjoyed enviable rates since 1975 when our damages cap was put into place. It has been raised twice to its current level of $1.25 million.
“If the pending decision goes against us, this case will continue on for several more years,” explained Julie Reed, ISMA general counsel. “On the other hand, if the court supports our position, we expect the trial lawyers will bring another challenge.”
The ISMA has been fighting this particular case for nearly three years on your behalf. The latest activity to occur May 3 involved oral arguments at the Indiana Supreme Court.
The ISMA is currently awaiting a decision about whether Plank is entitled to an evidentiary hearing – a mini-trial – on the constitutionality of Indiana’s coveted medical malpractice damages cap. The state Supreme Court justices have no deadline to issue a ruling.
Do your part to help in this fight
“Physicians and hospitals cannot afford to lose this fight, but we need physician support to continue our efforts,” said Thomas Vidic, M.D., ISMA president. “The ISMA advocacy in this case and others is paid for by ISMA dues revenue; however, our voice is only as strong as our membership.
“Today, several thousand practicing Indiana physicians are not ISMA members. The ISMA needs the membership support of all physicians in Indiana. Please pass this message along to your colleagues and friends and encourage them to join the ISMA.”
Call Reed at the ISMA if you have any questions about the Plank case. For questions about membership, contact ISMA field representatives, Tom Dixon (northern Indiana) or Tom Lux (southern and central).
Encourage your colleagues to visit the ISMA website and complete a membership application – because your financial future and theirs may be at risk.