Court Sides With JUA on Key Medical Liability Insurance Case

Last Updated: May 18, 2018

JUA Update

On June 21, 2018, PAMED learned about amendments to House Bill 1851 (now known as Act 41 of 2018) which would amend the Insurance Department Act to place the JUA under the “control, direction and oversight” of the state Department of Insurance. Get Details Here

An important court decision keeps alive a stabilizing force in Pennsylvania's medical liability insurance market for physicians in high-risk specialties. 

The Pennsylvania Medical Society played a supporting role in a decision announced May 17, 2018, that essentially blocks the state from seizing $200 million from the Pennsylvania Professional Liability Joint Underwriting Association (JUA).

Last October, when trying to balance its budget, state lawmakers and Gov. Wolf signed into law Act 44, which, among other things, would have required the JUA to hand over $200 million to the state or face abolishment.

The transfer never took place, as the JUA obtained a preliminary injunction from U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Conner. PAMED submitted an amicus brief to the federal court in support of the JUA's complaint and motion for injunction.

 In his decision, Judge Conner ruled that the state’s attempt to take money from the JUA – a private, non-profit organization – violates the federal Constitution. 

 He wrote, “(The JUA) is a private entity, and monies in its possession are private property. Act 44 endeavors to take a substantial portion of [the JUA’s] funds…[and] fails to provide any compensation whatsoever.”  Judge Connor also acknowledged that the JUA “has a perceptible benefit: it assures availability of medical professional liability coverage throughout the commonwealth at no public cost.”

The JUA was created by state law in 1976 to provide liability insurance for physicians in high-risk specialties. However, the JUA receives no money from the Commonwealth and never has.

PAMED believes that monies paid to the JUA by physicians and other health care providers should be used for the intended purpose of insuring against liability arising from medical professional liability claims.

Additional Resources

PAMED provides quality, timely legal advocacy and resources for member physicians. Visit our Legal Resources Center to learn more.


5 comments

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  1. Edward H. Dench | May 24, 2018
    You are correct the state  had to return some of the money but not all. The kept the money from the Cigarette tax and from the ticket money that had been allocated to medicine. They used physicians to raise taxes then they took the money!
  2. Raymond C. Truex | May 21, 2018

    Deja Vu all over again.

    Yogi B.

  3. Raymond C. Truex | May 21, 2018

    Deja vu all over again.

    Yogi B

  4. Kerry T. Givens | May 18, 2018

    Refresher course: 

    https://www.equotemd.com/blog/pennsylvania-malpractice-200-million-dollar-settlement/

  5. Kerry T. Givens | May 18, 2018
    History repeating itself. Am I the only one who remembers when Ed Rendell helped himself to our malpractice funds during the Big Recession? As I recall the State returned those millions many years later---of course, they were compelled by various lawsuits filed against them---- but I still bristle at the thought of such brazen thievery.

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