Oregon Doctor Crisis Unfounded
The medical lobby has been claiming the number of doctors in rural and urban Oregon have declined as an argument for restricting the ability for injured patients to sue for Oregon medical malpractice. According to a new report by consumer advocacy group Public Citizen and Oregon State Public Interest Research Group, the number of active doctors in Oregon has actually risen by 11.9 percent from 2000 to 2004, compared to the 12 percent rise from 1995 to 1999 when a $500,000 cap on non-economic damage awards was enacted and repealed by the state Supreme Court.
The increase in the number of Oregon medical doctors was also evident in rural areas, growing by 11.9 percent from 2000 to 2004, according to the study. In addition, the number of key medical specialists in Oregon has also increased at a faster rate from 2000 to 2004 than from 1995 to 1999. The Oregon medical lobby and HMOs have been claiming doctors have been leaving the state because of Oregon medical malpractice lawsuits and spikes in insurance rates, which the study clearly finds is false.
Oregon residents have been misled, according to the Public Citizen, in order to cap payments to people most severely injured by instances of medical malpractice. The report was 31-pages, using the most up-to-date federal, state and private sector data available.
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