Pennsylvania Walkout Averted

Published February 1, 2003

Forty-two doctors in Pennsylvania agreed to call off their planned walkout after incoming Governor Ed Rendell (D) promised to fight for $220 million in aid for doctors to help pay for their malpractice insurance premiums.

The offer for aid is tentative, and Rendell must persuade a Republican-controlled legislature to accept his plan. While the new governor pledged to help pay for the premiums, he made no mention of the need for fundamental reform of medical malpractice laws in Pennsylvania.

Dr. Seth Krum, an orthopedic surgeon at Warminster Hospital in suburban Philadelphia, said he is still contemplating leaving the Keystone State for one where insurance costs would be lower. He said he has already interviewed at medical facilities in other states.

“I’ve had my wife in tears for months,” Krum said. “I’ve developed a great practice. My kids are 1 and 4 years old. I don’t want to leave. But this just can’t continue.”

Discussions of permanent reforms by the state legislature aren’t likely to begin until later in the new session.