FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (Albany, NY) – Today, the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York (LRANY), a non-partisan nonprofit advocacy group focused on state-level lawsuit reform, released a report entitled: “The Doctor is in…Another State: How NYPIRG’s Physician Supply Report Misses the Mark.” The report highlights serious flaws in the New York Public Interest Group’s (NYPIRG) recent report “The Doctor Is In: New York State’s Increasing Number of Physicians,” which claimed that no physician shortage exists in New York, and that high medical malpractice rates do not affect physician supply.
The first glaring flaw, LRANY contends, is that the report presents only the current per capita number of physicians, and fails to account for long-term trends. LRANY analyzed physician supply data for 50 states between 2008 and 2012, and found that total physician supply increased in nearly all states. The national average per capita growth in total physician supply was 6.04 per 100,000, yet New York’s per capita supply grew by only 2.3 per 100,000, barely one third the national average. Thirty-seven states performed better than New York, including states that have enacted key tort reforms such as Texas, California, Wisconsin, and Florida.
Tom Stebbins, LRANY’s Executive Director, said “NYPIRG is clearly trying to manipulate the numbers to support their political agenda – which is closely aligned with the personal injury trial lawyer lobby.”
The LRANY report also highlights that NYPRIG’s claim that there is no physician shortage in New York is unsupported by the underlying data, which shows only that physician supply has increased in New York. NYPRIG’s claim that this demonstrates that no physician shortage exists is invalid because it does not also account for the total need for physicians, which has increased at a greater rate. LRANY points out that excluding New York City, the Healthcare Association of New York (HANYS) recently estimated New York’s total physician shortage to be over 1,000. Seventy-five percent of hospitals surveyed by HANYS reported that the recruitment of primary care physicians was very difficult due to shortages, while 87% indicated that their ability to recruit physicians was the same or worse than the previous year.
Lastly, the group notes that the NYPIRG report is critically flawed because it claims there is little evidence that our state’s high medical liability premiums are impacting the number of physicians that practice in New York. Said Stebbins, “Of course NYPIRG didn’t find a connection between high liability insurance rates and doctors leaving our state – they didn’t bother to ask the doctors.” Stebbins pointed to the case of Dr. Wendy Villalobos, an OB-GYN who formerly practiced in the Bronx. “Her premiums were $186,000 each year. When she moved to Texas, which enacted comprehensive lawsuit reform in 2003, her premiums fell to just 20% what they were in New York.” Stebbins also highlighted a recent survey by the American Medical Group Association which found that financial considerations top the list of reasons that physicians relocate.
“The bottom line,” said Stebbins, “is that high medical liability premiums driven by our out-of-control legal system are hindering New York’s ability to attract and retain qualified physicians.”
The full report can be accessed here.