Final version of malpractice bill agreed on

The Senate and Assembly have now agreed on legislation designed to protect patients from having to change doctors when theirs leaves a health plan and to protect physicians from when an insurance company decides to leave a market.

Assembly Bill 320 was spawned in part by the decision of the St. Paul Companies two years ago to leave the Nevada market. Since they insured a substantial number of Nevada doctors, that left many physicians either with no insurance or offers of coverage double or more what they were paying.

The bill would require that any insurer who decides to leave the market or to not renew all the policies in a group give at least 120 days notice.

And it allows the insurance commissioner to add another 60 days on to that if the commissioner determines that another policy is not available to the affected doctors.

In addition, it mandates that, if a physician or other provider leaves a medical plan for any reason, existing patients can continue to receive care from that doctor for another 120 days to ensure continuity of care. In the case of pregnancies, the patient could stay with the same physician until 45 days after the birth or termination of pregnancy.

The Senate and Assembly agreed Monday on amendments to AB320, sending the legislation to the governor for his signature.


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