Court sides with providers on malpractice fund

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A state court is siding with hospitals and doctors in a case involving unspent balances in Pennsylvania’s supplemental medical malpractice insurance fund.

In a five-to-two ruling made public Monday, Commonwealth Court overruled state Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine and ordered him to recalculate assessments levied on health-care providers for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011.

At issue is whether state officials should have included accrued balances in the so-called MCare fund when calculating the annual assessments. The state contends that those balances — which totaled $104 million in 2008 — should be excluded from the assessment formula.

But the court concluded that the law clearly intended for such balances to be part of the calculation — resulting in lower assessments on providers.

The department declined to comment on the ruling.

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