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Tort reform rally Thursday

Medical professionals are gathering Thursdayy for a rally highlighting the problems costly malpractice insurance is causing them.

The rally takes place at noon Thursday at the Farmington Civic Center.

Malpractice insurance has increased as much as 600 percent for some doctors, according to figures given by Dr. James Buchanan, an advocate for tort and medical insurance reforms. He says the situation is forcing doctors into early retirement and sending doctors out of rural areas to larger city hospitals, or even other states.

Donna Thurston and Buchanan have helped organize the rally.

Thurston said the problems have reached crisis proprotions, and she is urging voters to check the stance of candidates they are voting for on the issues, and vote for those who will tackle the problems.

Among speakers at the event will be Buchanan, Dr. George Gasser, Dr. David Yahnke and Dr. John Fitz. Several of the candidates running for office will also be featured speakers at the rally.

Concerned citizens are invited to attend and learn more about the health care crisis and the featured candidates’ positions on the matter.

The issues might be very complex on a state-wide and national level, but they are hitting home at the local level, both Thurston and Buchanan have said.

According to common examples they have given, several local doctors have either left practice altogether, or are limiting the procedures they do to reduce the cost of their insurance.

Dr. David Yahnke took early retirement because he could not afford his malpractice insurance on a part-time schedule. Dr. Gregory Terpstra now limits surgical procedures at his office, and no longer performs surgery in hospitals, visits nursing homes to treat patients or offers OB care.

Ron Stevens, a physician recruiter for Parkland Hospital, says he finds it difficult to recruit doctors to Missouri because of the high cost of malpractice insurance.

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