Should anyone be answerable if a physician without malpractice insurance hits the road and fails to pay a large malpractice verdict? That's the question now facing Florida's Supreme Court.
A 2004 ruling by the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach found that a Broward County circuit judge was wrong to order Plantation General Hospital to pay a $250,000 judgment even though one of its AWOL docs flew the coup when faced with a $859,000 med-mal ruling. "Hospitals have to bear some responsibility when the doctors they invite on their property are financially irresponsible," said Kenneth Sobel, a Fort Lauderdale attorney.
Florida physicians do not have to carry malpractice insurance. However, they must, by law, demonstrate an ability to pay at least $100,000 per claim and at least $300,000 in total annual claims.
A hospital rep contends, "Hospitals have no way of knowing when a physician might become bankrupt or might have financial responsibility at any given moment in time." We'll keep an eye on this one. Read [Palm Beach Post]