Tort Reform and the Obstetrical Access Crisis


As a consequence of the malpractice liability crisis, each of the four WAMI states at the time of this study had modified the existing tort and/or professional liability systems in their states. This project reviewed recent studies of physicians’ obstetrical practices and major changes in tort legislation and regulation. The majority of general and family physicians in the WAMI region no longer provided obstetrical care, while over 80% of the obstetrician/gynecologists in this area still practiced obstetrics. Most rural family physicians in all four states continued to deliver babies. The majority of physicians in these states limited the amount of care they provide to Medicaid patients. All four states adopted tort reforms, yet the cost of malpractice premiums and concerns over liability continued to limit the number of physicians willing to provide obstetrical care.