Virginia’s Birth Injury Fund was the first effort in the nation promising lifetime medical care to a small class of infants whose injuries at birth represented a severe malpractice threat against doctors and hospitals. A wonderful plan…but it has never worked!
The plan was “sold” to the Virginia General Assembly by the Medical Society of Virginia as a way to keep Virginia’s obstetricians from going broke paying ever increasing medical malpractice insurance premiums and at the same time providing benefits (more easily obtained than by pursuing traditional medical malpractice claims) to those infants severely injured at birth. The plan has failed at both goals. The premiums which obstetricians pay for malpractice insurance fluctuate with the rise and fall of the stock market, as a result of the rise and fall of the value of insurance companies investment portfolio…not the number or severity of malpractice claims.
And what about the infants, the procedure under the plan, promoted as user friendly, is anything but. Bureaucratic delays and gamesmanship prevail…the plan fights almost every request for benefits!
Now, the Richmond Times Dispatch has reported that Virginia’s Birth Injury Fund will run out of money in about 20 years. An audit released last week shows that assets of the program climbed to $227 million at the end of last year but that those assets are $127.6 million short of the amount needed to assure lifetime benefit payments to infants admitted into the program.
I SAY LET THE BIRTH INJURY FUND DIE….IT WAS A BAD LAW TO BEGIN WITH!