Saratoga, Wyoming –
A small town Wyoming doctor says the medical malpractice insurance issue has driven up her rates for no particular reason. Doctor Diane Noton of Saratoga says when she first took over the Platte Valley Medical Clinic in 1999 her rates were seven thousand dollars. But she now pays 24-thousand dollars a year. Noton says it is somewhat surprising because she is a family practice doctor with very little risk.
Insurance officials say such increases occur, because the longer a doctor practices, the more risk the doctor acquires. Noton says she is very committed to her patients and it would take a lot to make her leave, but the issue is a real concern for doctors like her. She adds that Medicaid and insurance rules make it almost impossible for her to increase her rates. Noton is taking a strong interest in two so-called Tort Reform Measures on the Wyoming Ballot. She especially favors Amendment C, which would set up a medical review panel to weed out frivilous cases.