Louisville, KY – Kentucky has lost about a third of its obstetricians and gynecologists in the past five years due to growing concerns over malpractice insurance.
Statistics show that kentucky lost 212 of 617 licensed Ob/Gyns from 1999 to 2003. The Kentucky Medical Association says the losses have continued this year. It says there are now 70 Kentucky counties with obstetricians. At least two hospitals have closed their maternity wards. Our Lady of bellefonte Hospital in Russell and Knox County Hospital in Barbourville have stopped offering maternity services.
High malpractice insurance premiums are at the root of the problem. Insurance company officials say they are rising because delivering babies is risky and generates lots of claims and lawsuits.
But even doctors who have never been sued are facxing premiums that can reach $85,000 a year in Kentucky.