Ohio Dept. to Collect Medical Liability Claims Data

Ohio Department of Insurance Director Ann Womer Benjamin recently announced the launch of a web-based medical liability data collection application that enables insurers and those who pay medical liability claims on behalf of health care providers to securely report to the Department their costs of defending medical liability claims, and paying judgments and settlements.

“The Ohio Department of Insurance has aggressively pursued measures to help stabilize a historically volatile medical liability insurance market,” Womer Benjamin said. “Rate increases are much lower this year than in recent years and this new lawsuit information will provide the Department and Ohio policymakers with greater insight into the factors that impact medical liability insurance rates.”

House Bill 215, which became effective Sept. 13, 2004, mandated that admitted and non-admitted insurers, risk retention groups, and self-insurers report “closed claims data” to the Department. The legislation also authorized the Department to promulgate rule 3901-1-64, effective Jan. 2, 2005, which outlines procedures and reporting requirements. The Department created the on-line application to simplify the task of reporting the data.

The rule requires that the closed claims data for each calendar year be reported by May 1 of the following calendar year. For example, all claims closed between Jan. 2, 2005 and Dec. 31, 2005 must be reported to the Department by May 1, 2006.

The secure application is located on the Department’s Web site at www.ohioinsurance.gov, under the medical malpractice insurance link. Those who need assistance with the application can call 614-644-2635 or send an e-mail to MLDC@ins.state.oh.us.

The Ohio Medical Malpractice Commission, chaired by Womer Benjamin, issued a final report in April 2005, following two years of extensive and detailed testimony, which offered medical liability market stabilization recommendations to the legislature and Governor Taft’s administration. The report suggested, among other measures, the creation of a “patient safety center” to help prevent medical errors and the implementation of a pilot malpractice docket for medical malpractice lawsuits. The commission had previously recommended in an interim report the collection of lawsuit data effectuated by H.B. 215.

Ohio’s Department joins Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Missouri as states that have implemented procedures to collect medical malpractice closed claims data.