Maryland is considering creating a fund specifically for paying for birth injuries after a hospital was slapped with a record verdict. The Baltimore Sun reports.
The hospitals are suggesting the creation of a fund that still involves the court system. The fund will pay for lifetime care who win judgments or settlements but eliminate lump-sum payments. Instead, the fund would pay for lifetime care on an as-needed basis.
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The hospitals say that insurance costs for obstetrical care have caused some hospitals to consider closing down their units. The creation of the fund would help control those costs. Families would still have to go through the legal system to access the fund and lawyers would be paid out of it as well.
The hospitals believe that this will provide enough stability to hospital payments that they’ll feel comfortable providing high-risk care like OB/GYN services while still giving families the care they need if a child is injured during birth.
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However, some are opposed to the measure because the hospitals plan to raise rates to cover the costs of the new fund. According to them, it would transfer the risk away from the hospitals and force taxpayers and patients to pick up the costs for the hospital’s mistakes. There are also worries about money running out. New York is facing this issue with its own fund.