Regarding one line in “Tough Medicine” [January]: “Rising malpractice premiums and large numbers of poor uninsured patients complicate matters.” I question whether rural doctors in Oregon have experienced any rise in their malpractice premiums. The Oregon Legislature, in 2003, provided malpractice insurance relief to rural doctors.
-- Steven C. Hendricks
Hendricks & Whitney-Smith, LLP
Editor's note: The state reimburses rural doctors between 40% and 80% of their malpractice premiums. The program started in 2004 and followed a 160% average increase in premiums over 2000-04. Rural doctors say they are concerned about the continued rise in premiums and the program’s sunset in 2007.