Click here to view a larger map image.
Patient Access
Disappearing Doctors
Senior Issues
C3 Friends and Supporters
Join Us
Those We’ve Lost As a Result of Pennsylvania’s Medical Liability Crisis
Pennsylvania’s Disappearing Doctors and Services and Care Pennsylvania’s Hospitals Can No Longer Afford To Provide
by Donna Baver Rovito

This March 8, 2004 update of “Pennsylvania’s Disappearing Doctors” is admittedly incomplete, as it contains only listings of those physicians of whom we are aware, and it is likely that hundreds more have relocated or retired quietly, without reporting their departure and without canceling their PA medical licenses.

The State Federation of Medical Boards reports that Pennsylvania lost 1,071 “actively practicing” physicians from 2001 to 2002. Many of the names on this list are included in this figure, but many have been added since those numbers were compiled, and reductions in the status of medical licenses do not reflect physicians who have been forced to curtail services.

That noted, this list contains references to: 941 physicians who have relocated to other states; 176 who have retired earlier than they had planned; 228 who were either laid off, forced to close their practice, gave up the practice of medicine, left private practice medicine, or passed away with no hope of replacement; and 393 who have been forced to significantly alter their practice of medicine or curtail services like eliminating obstetrics or surgery, all as a result of the burgeoning medical liability crisis in Pennsylvania.

More importantly, each of these 1,738 listings represents hundreds or even thousands of patients who no longer have access to the training and skills of that physician.

The most recent physician losses will not be reflected in medical licensure figures for several years, and changes and limitations in practice will never be reflected by any quantitative measure.

This list also contains references to 2,524 health services jobs eliminated or lost due to hospitals’ skyrocketing malpractice premiums as reported in various press accounts throughout the state. Job losses not reported to the press will not be reflected here.

Those We’ve Lost As a Result of Pennsylvania’s Medical Liability CrisisPennsylvania’s Disappearing Doctors and Services and Care Pennsylvania’s Hospitals Can No Longer Afford To Provide
by Donna Baver Rovito, Legislation Committee, Pennsylvania Medical Society Alliance

The Pennsylvania State Medical Board reported to the Pennsylvania Medical Society that 4,565 physicians with PA licenses requested that their licenses be placed on “inactive” status in the most recent renewal cycle in 2003; of those, 583 have current PA addresses, which means that almost 4,000 DO NOT. The State Federation of Medical Boards reports that Pennsylvania lost 1,071 actively practicing physicians from 2001 to 2002, while neighboring states showed increases. A nationwide survey of medical and surgical residents asked this question: If you were to begin your education again, would you study medicine or would you select another field? The answer: 76% of residents say they would choose medicine, down from 95% in 2001. Less than 25% of residents and fellows studying in Pennsylvania report that they will practice in our state. Half of Pennsylvania’s physicians are over the age of 50, while we’ve dropped to 41st in the nation for the number of practicing physicians under the age of 35. There are only three orthopedic surgeons in the state under the age of 35. Pennsylvania is identified by the AMA as one of 19 states where the malpractice litigation climate has reached “crisis proportions.” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) identifies Pennsylvania as one of nine “Red Alert Hot States,” where care is most at risk due to the medical liability insurance crisis.

Last fall, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a report: “Confronting the New Health Care Crisis: Improving Health Care Quality and Lowering Costs by Fixing Our Medical Liability System.” The U.S. Congress House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health launched a series of hearings entitled: “Harming Patient Access to Care: The Impact of Excessive Litigation.” A November 2001 “Report of the PA House Professional Licensure Committee on the Shortage of Health Care Professionals” identifies the loss of physicians and other health care professionals as a major health care problem. The recently released independent PEW study attributes higher liability premiums in Pennsylvania to wildly increasing payouts and the number of frivolous suits filed, which cost the system countless millions for defense.

Opponents of medical liability reform quote outdated statistics, including bulk licensure figures, to deny the loss of sharply increasing numbers of Pennsylvania’s physicians. Physicians who have fled Pennsylvania in the past 6-12 months simply won’t show up in those numbers yet. Medical licenses are good for two years, and most physicians don’t cancel them - if anything, they place them on “inactive” status. Many physicians maintain multiple licenses; many retired physicians maintain licensure in order to write prescriptions for family members. It is also important to note that every resident must have a PA license while training here, but cannot be reasonably counted as providing experienced patient care. PA’s physician “brain drain” is primarily among subspecialists who are among the lowest number of physicians in a given area. For example, a rural community might have six obstetrician/gynecologists among 100 doctors. However, a loss of only half of the practicing obstetricians, while only a small percentage (3%) of the total number of physicians in the area, can cripple the delivery of vital health care services in that community - see Fayette County. Pennsylvania is fortunate to have over 30,000 physicians (many of whom are in training.) But only about 1,800 of these are Ob/Gyn specialists, about 1,200 are ER specialists, about 1,100 are orthopedic surgeons and less than 200 are neurosurgeons. As the subspecialties most affected by soaring malpractice premiums require the longest training, they are the most difficult to replace. The crisis has begun to reach into the ranks of internal medicine and family practitioners as well, as insurers seek additional premium increases to offset their losses.

In addition to a staggering loss of physicians, Pennsylvania’s world-class hospitals have been adversely affected by sharp increases in malpractice premiums: units and clinics have closed, residency programs have been lost and thousands of employees have been laid off in hospitals throughout the state. Many cutbacks cannot be quantified, but will eventually impact negatively on patient care. For example, a serious shortage of radiologists specializing in reading mammograms has increased the wait time for screening mammograms at most major hospitals to four to five months. As the breast cancer “cure rate” is directly related to early diagnosis, a several months’ wait for a mammogram could make the difference between survival and death for a woman with a particularly virulent strain of breast cancer. Maternity wards have closed. Obstetricians have been forced to curtail delivering babies. Trauma centers have been forced to divert patients because the doctors they are required to have on call have no insurance.

The following list features names, specialties, and other information about many excellent Pennsylvania doctors, a large number of whom aren’t Pennsylvania doctors anymore. Many have left the state or retired early. Others have limited their practices or left private practice to reduce their liability expenses. They’re not statistics. They’re talented and dedicated people who have provided a valuable and irreplaceable service to Pennsylvania’s patients. One suburban hospital reports that it has had not a single application for new privileges in two years. Not only are physicians leaving, but we can’t replace them, because young doctors have gotten the word the Pennsylvania is a really bad place to practice medicine. Despite the passage of several measures in 2002, liability premiums continue to rise as fewer carriers offer liability coverage. Liability payouts and legal expenses exceed premium collections by about $1.30 on each dollar. Almost 60% of what insurers pay out goes not to injured patients, but to lawyers’ fees and administrative costs. Until an atmosphere of profitability entices new insurers into our marketplace, premiums will not fall. The solution is many-pronged: fewer unfounded (or frivolous) cases must be filed; non-economic damage awards to genuinely injured patients must have reasonable limits, while further ensuring that the majority of those settlements benefit the victim, not just the attorney; all Pennsylvania physicians must have relief from surcharges into the MCARE Fund, and Pennsylvania’s mandated $1 million insurance coverage must be either eliminated or reduced.

This list is most definitely not a complete representation of doctors and services we’ve lost. There is, unfortunately, no central location to which departing or retiring doctors must report or to which hospitals must report cutbacks. For example, we’ve had little information from Erie County, but recently, a list of 85 physicians’ names was forwarded to me, and some of the departures were as long ago as 2001. The physician loss in Erie County was real enough - we just didn’t have the details about it. Pennsylvania’s Disappearing Doctors list was culled from newspaper articles and e-mail requests for information sent to health care professionals throughout the state. Information has not been independently verified; we have relied on the accuracy and honesty of health care professionals reporting loss of access and services in their own geographic areas. What this list attempts to do is to put some names to otherwise nameless claims that Pennsylvania is losing some of its finest physicians. It is also a loosely connected series of examples of a downward trend affecting Pennsylvania’s hospitals as they attempt to provide quality care in an atmosphere of reduced reimbursements, soaring liability premiums, and loss of their physician staff members. Here are just some of the doctors and hospital services we’ve lost, listed by counties for which we were able to locate information (56 of 67 counties). This is a small sampling which I believe to be the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There was no available information for unlisted counties but that doesn’t mean they haven’t lost doctors or services; it simply means they haven’t responded to requests for information.

March 8, 2004 Update

ADAMS COUNTY:
Physician Effect:

  • General Surgeon Dr. Corenzo, Gettysburg Hospital, retired early in 2003 due to the unfovorable medical economic climate

ALLEGHENY COUNTY:
Physician Effect:

  • Urologist Paul Arnold, Mckeesport, relocated to Florida in 2003 after practicing in Pennsylvania for only two years, leaving his associate, a urologist in his 60’s, alone again
  • General Surgeon George Benz, Forbes Hospital, retired early
  • Urologist Thomas Benz, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to Delaware in November 2002
  • Ob/Gyn Sarah Berga, Magee Women’s Hospital, left Pennsylvania in 2003
  • Nephrologist Aravind Boinapally will relocate to New Orleans, Louisiana in April 2004
  • Respiratory Disease Specialist Jenee Bowman, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to North Carolina in August 2002
  • Anna Cahall, DMD, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to Ohio in August 2002
  • Family Practitioner Sandra Cromo stopped practicing medicine in 2003
  • Opthalmologist Glenn Cockerham, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to California in 2004
  • Opthalmologist Kimberly Cockerham, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to California in 2004
  • Pathologist David Dabbs, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to Maryland in 2000
  • General Surgeon Christopher Daly, St. Francis Hospital, gave up clinical practice for an administrative position
  • Radiologist Ziad Deeb, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to Florida in February 2002
  • Neurosurgeon John Day, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to Denver, Colorado due to malpractice premiums and low reimbursements in January, 2004
  • Rheumatologist Rajul Desai, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to Maryland in May 2003
  • ER Specialist Liz Eaton will relocate to Dayton, Ohio early in 2004
  • Ob/Gyn Dennis English, Magee-Women’s Hospital, stopped delivering babies at the end of November, 2002 after 22 years and 2,500 babies
  • Trauma Surgeon Mark Falimirski, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to Wisconsin in April 2001
  • Neurosurgeon Marc Flitter, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to New Mexico in June, 2001
  • Opthalmologist Gary Foulks, UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, relocated to Kentucky in 2004
  • Dr. Elaine Freeman, Manchester, is retiring prematurely solely due to insurance costs in 2003
  • ENT Surgeon Stephen Froman has stopped doing facial trauma and high-risk endoscopic sinus surgery
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Lou Glasso and two surgical associates are retiring from medicine in 2003
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist Ron Glick, UPMC, left PA in 2003
  • Cardiovascular Disease Specialist Joseph Hakas relocated to North Carolina
  • General Surgeon Charles Hauessner, St. Margaret’s Hospital, UPMC, retired early due to a doubling of liability premiums that would have forced him to work 60-80 hours a week to cover his liability premium, at a time in his life when he wanted to continue working, but work fewer hours
  • General/Vascular Surgeon Andrea Hendrzak, Mercy Hospital, age 32, left her Pittsburgh practice October 1, 2003 due to the increased burdens of malpractice costs and because she felt her group “worked too hard.” She will work locum tenens outside of Pennsylvania until an opportunity to become an employed physician presents itself
  • Trauma Surgeon Mike Hughes, Allegheny General Hospital, is moving to North Carolina in 2003
  • Radiologist Christopher Johns, UPMC, moved to Winter Park, FL
  • Cardiologist Lawrence Kam, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to Washington, DC in January 2002
  • Occupational Medicine Specialist Elizabeth Kann, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to Ohio in July 2002
  • Endocrinologist Steven Kaufman, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to New Jersey in November 2001
  • General Surgeon Tim Kavic, UPMC Passavant, relocated to Minnesota in 2004
  • Neuroradiologist Susan Siren Kemp, Pittsburgh Area Health Systems, closed practice in June 2003 and relocated to Ohio
  • Neurosurgeon William Kemp, Pittsburgh Area Health Systems, closed practice in June 2003 and relocated to Ohio
  • Pediatrician Christopher Kim, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated out of PA in September 2002
  • Neurosurgeon Joseph King, UPMC Presbyterian, relocated to Connecticut on July 1, 2003
  • General Surgeon Joseph Kolter, Pittsburgh, retired in the prime of his career in December 2001
  • Gastroenterologist Ramex Koury, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to Wisconsin in May 2002
  • ENT Helen Krause retired in March, 2003, after have previously given up surgery during the fall of 2002
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Norman Krause relocated to New York
  • Endocrinologist Esther Krug, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to Maryland in July 2002
  • Perinatologist Dan Landers, Magee Women’s Hospital, relocated to Minnesota in 2003
  • Cardiothoracis Surgeon John Liddicoat, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated out of PA in August 2001
  • ER Specialist Jean Lucid, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to Texas in December 2001
  • Ob/Gyn Gracie Lyons, Western Pennsylvania Hospital, left Pennsylvania in 2003
  • Vascular and General Surgeon Warren Maley, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to Louisiana in 2003
  • Dr. Robert Mantica, Swickley Valley and Mercy Hospitals, moved to New York in 2003
  • Neurosurgeon Don Marion, UPMC Presbyterian, relocated to Boston in 2003
  • ENT Duane Martin left Pittsburgh in March 2002
  • Internist Rosalind Martz, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to Texas in June 2001
  • General Surgeon Michael McCafferty relocated to Kentucky
  • Orthopedic Surgeon John McCarthy III, Natrona Heights, relocated to Virginia on Sept. 1, 2003; he comes from a long line of physicians and takes with him three children, several of whom might have become PA physicians
  • ENT Jonathan McGinn, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated out of PA in June 2003
  • Ob/Gyn Elizabeth McPherson, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to Wisconsin in January 2003
  • Radiologist John Mikita retired at the age of 57 in 2003
  • Pediatric Surgeon Kelly Miller, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated out of PA in January 2003
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Eric Nabors, specializing in spinal surgery, relocated to North Carolina August 1, 2003 due to the liability insurance crisis
  • Plastic Surgeon Martin Nee, Pittsburgh, retired in his early 50’s in 2003, citing the unavailability of occurrence insurance as a large factor in his decision
  • Neurosurgeon Dr. Nyak, Pittsburgh and surrounding communities, retired abruptly in August, 2002, citing liability issues as a factor
  • Respiratory Disease Specialist Walter O’Donnell, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to Massachusetts in January 2002
  • Radiologist James Oliver, UPMC, moved to Charlotte, NC in 2003
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Richard Pantalone, Jefferson Regional Medical Center, specializing in complex hand surgery, closed his practice in 2003 and is relocating to Wisconsin
  • Cardiologist John Paulowski, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to Ohio in September 2001
  • General Surgeon Rob Pendrak, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to Florida in February 2002
  • Radiologist Arlene Peterson, UPMC, moved to Tucson, AZ in 2002
  • Radiologist Mark Peterson, UPMC, moved to Tucson, AZ in 2002
  • Opthalmologist Misha Pless, Eye and Ear Hospital, will relocate to Boston, MA in 2004
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Mike Prayson, UPMC, will relocate to Dayton, Ohio, where he will become Director of Surgery, early in 2004
  • Pathologist Steve Raab, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to Illinois in May 2001
  • Perinatologist Phillip Rauk, Magee Women’s Hospital, relocated to Minnesota in 2003
  • Gastroenterologist Pamela Reed, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, relocated to Kentucky in 2003
  • Cardiologist Nathaniel Reichek, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to New York in April 2001
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Mary Lynn Scovazzo relocated to Tacoma, Washington
  • Oral and Maxilofacial Surgeon Zakir Shaikh, Allegheny General Hospital, is moving to Florida in 2003
  • Neurosurgeon Peter Sheptak, UPMC Presbyterian, gave up surgery in 2003
  • Cardiologist Rizwan Siddiqui, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to Michigan in July 2001
  • Radiation Oncologist Maira Simental, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to California in June 2003
  • Cardiothoracic Surgeon Deepak Singh, Allegheny General Hospital, is “moving out of Pennsylvania” in 2003
  • Perinatologist Richard Sweet, Magee Women’s Hospital, relocated to California in 2003
  • Pathologist Marcus Simpson, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to North Carolina in May 2002
  • Perinatologist Cynthia Sims, Magee Women’s Hospital, relocated to W. Virginia in 2003
  • Ophthalmologist Laurence Sudesh, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to California in February 2002
  • Ophthalmologist Rattehili Sudesh, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated to California in February 2002
  • Pain Management Specialist William Sutherland relocated to the South in 2003
  • Cardiothoracic Surgeon Gary Szydlowski, Allegheny General Hospital, relocated out of Allegheny County in January 2002; he is currently practicing in the Lehigh Valley
  • Neurosurgeon James Uselman left PA in 2003
  • Plastic Surgeon Richard Vagley, Pittsburgh Institute of Plastic Surgery, stopped “treating certain emergencies which I know translate into a greater liability,” in 2003, and has activated his medical licenses in other states “just in case”
  • Neurosurgeon Frank Vertosick, Western Pennsylvania Hospital, ceased doing surgery in 2003
  • Oral and Maxilofacial Surgeon Christopher Viozzi, Allegheny General Hospital, is relocating to Minnesota in 2003
  • Ob/Gyn Nichole Waltrip, Western Pennsylvania Hospital, left Pennsylvania in 2003
  • Only one of the past four graduates of the Vascular fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Health System has remained in Pennsylvania, because she is married to the Chairman of the Department, according to Chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery Michael S. Makaroun

Hospital and Other Effects:

  • Allegheny General Hospital reports a three month wait for screening mammograms due to a shortage of radiologists to read results
  • Magee Women’s Hospital reports a two month wait for routine mammograms and a five day to three week wait for women with palpable masses
  • Magee’s Breast Center, which does 40,000 routine mammograms and 17,000 additional procedures at six sites per year, has been unsuccessfully attempting to recruit radiologists to read mammograms for two years
  • South Hill Radiology Associates was forced to abandon practice at South Side Hospital, UPMC, after more than 50 years of continuous service due to an inability to recruit sufficient numbers of board certified radiologists
  • Pittsburgh Mercy Health System is ceasing ambulance services provided from four bases by Mercy Mobile Care in July, 2002, citing, in part, substantial increases in professional medical liability and malpractice insurance premiums
  • UPMC Passavant Hospital has closed its obstetrics unit which previously provided services for 1,800 births per year
  • UPMC Passavant Hospital (Cranberry), formerly St. Francis Hospital, has shut down its emergency department
  • The University of Pittsburgh Medical School reports that three out of four doctors graduating from the school leave the state
  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s mini-fellowship in endovascular surgery, offered to practicing physicians throughout the country, has been unable to fill its slots due to the inability of applicants to secure malpractice insurance in Pennsylvania for a three month period, according to Vascular Chief Michael Makaroun, who further notes that UPMC’s fellowship charges no tuition while similar programs can charge up to $30,000 for three months of training

BEAVER COUNTY:
Physician Effect:

  • General Surgeon David Snyder, New Brighton, closed his practice on Dec. 31, 2002 and is currently weighing out-of-state options, according to the Allegheny Times
  • General Surgeon Bradley Thompson, The Medical Center, will relocate to New Orleans, Louisiana early in 2004 after 21 years of practice in PA, where his malpractice premiums will be about 60% of what they are in PA
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Linda Thompson, The Medical Center, will relocate to New Orleans, Louisiana early in 2004 after 19 years of practice in PA, where her malpractice premiums will be about 60% of what they are in PA
  • Five Ob/Gyns at The Medical Center have decided to eliminate obstetrics in 2003, reducing the Medical Center’s complement of obstetricians to 8; last year it had 15, according to CEO Norm Mitry
  • The Medical Center has announced that 11 physicians on staff have either quit practicing in PA in the past year and a half or intend to do so in coming months due to exorbitant medical malpractice insurance premiums, according to hospital CEO Norm Mitry; affected specialties include general surgery, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, urology, Ob/Gyn and primary care. Mitry further notes: that none of the positions has been filled: “....it’s very difficult to attract physicians into the state. People are very resistant to some here because of the medical lability crisis.”

BEDFORD COUNTY:
Physician Effect:

  • Ob-Gyn Jean Ann Bialas moved to Cumberland, MD in 2001 to save $50,000
  • The county’s only orthopaedic surgeon left PA in October, 2001, according to the PA Orthopaedic Society
BERKS COUNTY:
Physician Effect:
  • Ob/Gyn John Anderson, Reading Hospital, retired at the age of 59
  • Anesthesiologist Chris Berg, Reading Hospital, is leaving for Florida
  • Ob/Gyn John Bower, Reading Hospital, took early retirement
  • Radiologist David Brink, Reading Hospital, relocated to Alabama in 2002
  • Family Practitioner Benson Chin, St. Joseph Medical Center, left PA
  • Internist Francisco Daniels, Reading Hospital, relocated to Frederick Maryland in 2004
  • Family Practitioner Alison Dietrich relocated to California in 2003
  • Family Practitioner Ethan Dietrich relocated to New York in 2003
  • Ophthalmologist Eric Farber, St. Joseph Medical Center, left PA
  • Ob/Gyn Stephen Fehnel, Reading Hospital, was forced to eliminate obstetrics in 2003 due to the cost of insurance and the risk of a lawsuit after 20 years without a suit
  • Cardiologist William Finneran moved his practice to New Jersey in 2003
  • ENT Surgeon Edward Gabalski, Reading Hospital, left PA for New York
  • Family Practitioner Bruce Goodson, Twin Valley Medical Group, Morgantown, relocated to North Carolina in 2003
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Mark Hines, Commonwealth Orthopedic Associates, on staff at Reading and St. Joseph Hospitals, moved to the Carolinas in 2003, noting that “It’s just too hard to practice medicine in Pennsylvania.” Colleagues considered him one of the best in the area and he’d never had a malpractice case filed against him.
  • Ob/Gyn David Hoffman closed his Ob/Gyn and infertility practice Dec. 2, 2002
  • Neurosurgeon Eric Holm has given up all surgery
  • Internist Jim Hu is leaving Pennsylvania
  • Plastic Surgeon Emely Karandy, Reading Hospital, formerly of Philadelphia, is currently working as an employed physician in occupational health services , and notes “I sleep better at night without the stress of paying upwards of six figures for malpractice insurance before I can treat my first patient. I now refer to other specialists and am finding that increasingly difficult.”
  • Radiologist Marilyn Kerchner, Reading Hospital, relocated to California in 2002
  • Pulmonary Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist David Kim, St. Joseph Medical Center, left PA
  • Ob/Gyn Antone Kleiner, Reading, retired prematurely on September 1, 2003 due to the liability crisis, following 25 years of service to the community
  • Endocrinologist Steve Kochu relocated to Kentucky in 2004
  • Cardiovascular Surgeon Fred Lough will relocate to Texas in June 2004
  • Internist Phot Luisiri, Emkey Arthritis and Osteoporosis Clinic, relocated to Chicago in 2003
  • Ob/Gyn Gerard Malick, Reading, retired prematurely on September 1, 2003 due to the liability crisis, following 25 years of service to the community
  • Pulmonary Disease Specialist Edward Michel, St. Joseph Medical Center, left PA
  • Dr. Andrew Morris relocated to Long Island, NY in 2003
  • Occupational/Rehabilitation Specialist Vernon Morris, St. Joseph Medical Center, left PA
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Edward Pan, Commonwealth Orthopedic Associates, took early retirement effective June 30, 2003
  • Opthalmology Resident Parag Parekh, Reading Hospital, will relocate to continue his training at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore in June 2004, noting “we had to weight many factors when deciding whether to stay or leave, and the toxic litigation climate cannot be ignored.”
  • Anesthesiologist Leena Paul, St. Joseph Medical Center, left PA
  • Martin Pourkesale relocated to Florida in 2003
  • Ob/Gyn Peter Schwartz, affiliated with the ob/gyn residency program at the Reading Hospital, reports that the program attracted more than 100 applicants per year eight years ago, but this year there were only 23 applicants and only 10 who appear highly qualified
  • Radiologist Pranav Shah, Reading Hospital, relocated to New Jersey in 2001
  • Family Practitioner Wolfgang Shay, Pottstown Memorial, St. Joseph’s and Good Samaritan, Lebanon, was forced to eliminate newborn circumcisions, as only pediatricians are now being covered automatically for this procedure and family practitioners must pay
    $6,000 surchrage, despite reimbursements of only $100 per circumcision
  • Pulmonary Specialist John Shuman of Reading retired early
  • Pulmonary Specialist Gio Torri left Reading for New York
  • Anesthesiologist Manuel Uribe, St. Joseph Medical Center, left PA
  • General Surgeon Franklin M. Wolfe retired, placing the following ad in the local newspaper: “It is with deepest regret that I announce that I am retiring from surgery due to the exorbitantly high cost of malpractice insurance.”
  • Anesthesiologist Emad Younan, St. Joseph Medical Center, left PA
  • Following receipt of a malpractice bill for $106,000, a Berks county general surgeon was forced to retire

Hospital and Other Effects:

  • Dr. Nabil Muallen, Reading Hospital, reports delivering a baby whose mother had all of her prenatal care in Philadelphia, but who had to find alternative care 60 miles away because her 37 year-old obstetrician was forced to give up OB to reduce liability premiums
  • Reading Hospital is unable to obtain, at any price, malpractice coverage exceeding state minimum requirements up to $10 million, but can purchase coverage OVER 10 million, creating a de facto $10 million “deductible” which would have to be covered by the hospital’s own reserves

BLAIR COUNTY:
Physician Effect:

  • Internist Jeffrey Binney, Altoona, will relocate to Pinehurst, North Carolina April 1, 2004
  • Ob/Gyn Barry Janoff, Bon Secours Holy Family Hospital, left medicine in January 2003 due to an inability to afford malpractice insurance
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Martin Jenter, Altoona, left Pennsylvania in 2003
  • Ob/Gyn Jerusha Kemala, Altoona Hospital, relocated to Maryland in March 2003
  • ER Specialist Don Ranatunga, stopped practicing in 2003 due to a 300% insurance increase, after his insurance company folded; previously, he had retired from full-time duty at Altoona Hospital and was working six days a month at another area hospital
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Dave Welker, Altoona, left Pennsylvania in 2003
BRADFORD COUNTY:
Physician Effect:
  • Ob/Gyn Robert Berk left practice at end of March, 2002
    Hospital and Other Effects:
  • A 100% increase in malpractice premiums has forced the Guthrie Clinic in Sayre to delay implementation of computerized order entry, computerized prescription writing and modernization of surgical areas, all of which would enhance patient safety and medical quality, according to CEO Kevin Carey, M.D
  • Robert Packer Hospital has announced a work force reduction of 88 employees as a result of cost-cutting measures, due in part to “a major double digit increase in the cost of providing malpractice insurance,” according to President William Vanaskie

BUCKS COUNTY:
Physician Effect:

  • Ob/Gyn Robert Auerbach, Lower Bucks County, retired early in 2004
  • Ob/Gyn Richard Baker, closed his Quakertown office, eliminated obstetrics and now practices only out of his Bethlehem office
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Tom Beck moved to Ocean City, Maryland, where his malpractice premium dropped from $103,000 to around $30,000. His three-surgeon group also closed its Northeast Philadelphia office.
  • Gynecological Oncologist Richard Belch no longer does surgery in Bucks County as of 2004
  • Ob/Gyn Robert Berk, Center for Women’s Health, the largest Ob/Gyn group in Bucks County, and seven associates will drop obstetrical care on Nov. 30, 2003 in order to maintain their million-dollar plus insurance at affordable levels; previously, the group delivered 50-75 babies each month
  • General and Vascular Surgeon Richard Berg relocated to Ohio
  • Ob/Gyn Steven Block, Sellersville, has dropped OB
  • Ob/Gyn Neil Bluebond, Center for Women’s Health, eliminted obstetrics November 2003
  • ENT Matthew Blum, Grandview Hospital, retired from medicine in 2003; also an attorney, Dr. Blum will work fulltime for a plaintiff’s medical liability firm in Philadelphia
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Francis Boland retired on Dec. 31, 2001, in the wake of his cancellation by Clarendon Insurance
  • General Surgeon Wade Bollinger of Doylestown Surgical Associates moved to MO
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Bromberg, Warminster, relocated
  • Vascular Surgeon T. Wistar Brown, Quakertown, retired
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Douglas Boylan, of the three-member group Doylestown Orthopedic Specialists, was forced to give up surgery for three weeks, along with his two associates, after receiving a liability premium increase of 160% to $184,000 per doctor. The group was forced to sign with the JUA for coverage with assistance from the hospital, which wanted to provide better orthopedic coverage in the ER
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist Blackshear Bryan, Doylestown Hospital, relocated to Montana on Jan. 1, 2003 in search of “a more physician-friendly environment with lower costs and better reimbursement
  • ENT Matt Bucko, Central Montgomery Medical Center, who had retired previously in 2003, has passed away
  • Anesthesiologist Marc Buono, St. Mary’s Medical Center, is taking a position in Florida in 2003, which is much more financially attractive due, in large part, to skyrocketing liability premiums in PA
  • Internist Kristin Buck, Peace Valley Internal Medicine, left the practice July 12, 2003 - her plans have not yet been determined
  • Ob/Gyn John Carlson retired early in 2003
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Richard Cautilli, Langhorne, eliminated surgery
  • The 8-physician Center for Women’s Health, the largest Ob/Gyn group in Bucks County, will drop obstetrical care on Nov. 30, 2003 in order to maintain their million-dollar plus insurance at affordable levels; the group delivered 50-75 babies each month
  • Central Bucks Pediatricians Group, Doylestown, is no longer performing “well” visits on children over the age of two due to the liability crisis
  • Internist Chanta Chawla, Levittown, left clinical practice for industry in 2003
  • General and Vascular Surgeon Harish Chawla, Levittown, retired early in 2003
  • Internist Beatrice Cohen relocated to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on July 1, 2003
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Martin Cohen, Warminster, moved his practice to Bethlehem, PA
  • Cardiologist Yale Cohen, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Langhorne, relocated to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on July 1, 2003
  • Pulmonogist Annette Colavita, Doylestown Hospital, left PA in 2003
  • Ob/Gyn Elizabeth Crowe, Bristol, relocated the majority of her practice to New Jersey
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Frank Cuce, Frankford and St. Mary’s Hospitals, moved to North Carolina in 2003, after 30 years of practice in Langhorne, due to a premium increase from $95,000 in 2002 to $140,000 despite having no lawsuits filed against him
  • Infectious Disease Specialist Pia DeGirolamo, Grand View, North Penn and Quakertown Hospitals, retired prematurely in her forties in 2003; her partner is having great difficulty replacing her
  • Nephrologist Thomas DelGiorno is leaving Doylestown Hospital in 2004, leaving the institution with only two nephrologists
  • Radiologist Charles DePena, Upper Bucks Radiology, on staff at Grandview Hospital, relocated to Iowa, citing malpractice premiums as the reason for his decision. The group has been unsuccessfully attempting to recruit additional radiologists for some time
  • Ob/Gyn Eileen Engel established a gyn-only independent practice, with no obstetrics and no surgery, in Warrington, following the closure of her five-physician group, Engel, Smith and Associates in 2002, citing malpractice premiums as the primary reason for the closure
  • Internist Michael Flood, Doylestown, relocated to Wisconsin in 2003
  • General Surgeon Francis Ford, Doylestown Hospital, is retiring earlier than planned in 2003
  • General Surgeon Irwin Franklin, Warminster, retired early
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Victor Frankel, Warminster, stopped doing surgery
  • Ob/Gyn Irwin Friedman, Langhorne, retired early
  • Allergist Mary Fontana-Penn, Doylestown Hospital, relocated to North Carolina in July 2003
  • ENT Specialists John and Judy Gallagher are having difficulty recruiting additional ENTs to their practice due to high liability and low reimbursements
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Gregory Gallant, of the three-member group Doylestown Orthopedic Specialists, was forced to give up surgery for three weeks, along with his two associates, after receiving a liability premium increase of 160% to $184,000 per doctor. The group was forced to obtain coverage with the JUA with assistance from the hospital, which wanted to provide better orthopedic coverage in the ER
  • General Surgeon Ruth George, Quakertown, relocated to Ohio
  • General Surgeon Richard Goldfarb left clinical practice for industry in 2003
  • Family Practitioner Rebecca Haggard relocated to Idaho in 2003
  • Ob/Gyn Amy Harvey, Center for Women’s Health, eliminated obstetrics in November 2003
  • Anesthesiologist Bill Henick, St. Mary’s Medical Center, is relocating to New York in2003
  • Pulmonologist Donna Hogue, Doylestown Hospital, left PA in 2003; previously, there were seven pulmonologists on staff - with the departure of Dr. Hogue, there will be only three
  • Psychiatrist Harvey Itskowitz, Lower Bucks County, relocated
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Thomas Javian retired early
  • Orthopedic Surgeon William Johnson, Frankford and St. Mary’s Hospitals, moved to North Carolina in 2003, after 30 years of practice in Langhorne, due to a premium increase from $95,000 in 2002 to $140,000 , despite having no lawsuits filed against him
  • General Surgeon Subhash Karnik, Warminster, retired early
  • Ob/Gyn Mark Kuhn, Center for Women’s Health, eliminated obstetrics in November 2003
  • Pulmonologist Neil LaBove, Grand View Hospital and Central Montgomery Medical Center, relocated to Rhode Island in July 2003
  • General Surgeon Elihu Ledesma, Lower Bucks County, retired early in 2003
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Robert Levenberg, Warminster, has stopped operating
  • Ophthalmologist Mark Levitan, Lower Bucks County, relocated
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Robert Liebenberg, Levittown, has stopped doing surgery
  • Pulmonologist Lorie Loreman, Doylestown, moved to Arizona
  • Ob/Gyn Dane Anne Lovell, Doylestown Hospital, of the five-member group Engel, Smith and Associates, one of the largest Ob/Gyn practices in Central Bucks County, moved to Ohio in September 2002, citing malpractice premium increases as the reason for her departure. The practice closed October 20, 2002.
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Stephen Lowe, Lower Bucks County, has stopped operating and closed the NE Philadelphia office of his three-surgeon practice
  • General Surgeon Gregory Lynch, Lower Bucks County, relocated
  • Psychiatrist Satyen Madkaiker, Lower Bucks County, relocated
  • Ob/Gyn Irene Magran, Doylestown Hospital, of the five-member group Engel, Smith and Associates, one of the largest Ob/Gyn practices in Central Bucks County, is finalizing plans to leave PA as her practice closes October 20, 2002, citing malpractice premium increases and expiring coverage as reasons
  • General Surgeon Roderick McKee, Lower Bucks County, relocated to New Hampshire
  • Pathologist Mary Meihofer, Doylestown Pathology Associates, relocated to Harrisburg in July 2003
  • Radiologist Michael Miller relocated to Maine
  • Vascular Surgeon Norman Miller, Lower Bucks County, relocated to Indiana
  • Radiologist Robert Miller relocated to North Carolina
  • Orthopedic Surgeon David Mino, Levittown, retired early in 2004
  • Ob/Gyn John Missanelli, Bristol, relocated to California in 2003; he stopped delivering babies on June 1, 2002, and 70 current OB patients were forced to find another OB. Since 1973, Dr. Missanelli has delivered about 10,000 babies in Bucks County. Previously, he had moved the bulk of his practice to Roncocas, NJ, where he was paying $64,000 a year for malpractice insurance-one half of what he’d been paying in PA
  • General Surgeon Dr. Morin relocated to the midwest
  • Plastic Surgeon Jeyaseelan Noble, Morrisville, retired early in 2003
  • Dr. Theodore Onifer, a retired physician, serves on the board of Health link Medical Center, Southampton, which provides free health care to the working poor, but is unable to provide medical care due to insurance cost and risk as of 2003
  • Family Practitioner Robert O’Reilly, Upper Southampton, and wife, an RN, moved to Maine following 19 years in Bucks County, a double loss to Doylestown Hospital
  • Neurosurgeon David Pagnanelli, Doylestown, relocated to North Carolina
  • General/Vascular Surgeon Diane Palladino, Lower Bucks County, relocated to New Hampshire in 2003
  • Radiation Oncologist Dhaval Parikh, Highpoint Cancer Center, is relocating to Ohio in 2003
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. David Pashman of Warminster has stopped operating
  • Plastic Surgeon Jaykumar Patel retired early
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Ronald Pitkow, Bristol, eliminated surgery in 2003
  • Ob/Gyn Dr. David Podrasky of Langhorne, St. Mary’s Medical Center, closed his 18 year-old practice, which delivered about 175 babies each year, and has taken a position as house physician, supervising residents in the Ob/Gyn training program. Prior to closing his practice, he took no salary since March to pay $9,500 /month in malpractice premiums. For a time in 2001, Dr. Podrasky and 12 associates worked second jobs at St. Mary’s Medical Center to earn enough money to cover their malpractice premiums
  • Pulmonologist Michael Pomerantz, Doylestown Hospital, will close his practice on December 12, 2003
  • Family Practitioner Richard Price retired prematurely in 2003
  • Internist Elizabeth Rabin, practicing in Yardley, retired early in 2003 at the age of 46
  • Neurosurgeon Murray Robinson, Warminster, moved to New Jersey
  • Emergency Department Director Kathleen Roeder took early retirement from clinical practice February 28, 2002, when the PHICO insolvency forced her group to find renewal coverage in 30 days at nearly triple the cost
  • Internist Jim Rogers, Quakertown, moved to Florida
  • Ob/Gyn Lester Ruppersberger eliminated obstetrics November 2003
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Robert Ruth, general orthopedic and hand surgery, Levittown, relocated to California in 2003
  • Cardiologist Amy Scally, Sellersville, moved to New Jersey
  • Radiation Oncologist Barbara Schlager, Director of Radiation Oncology at St. Mary’s Regional Cancer Center, retired early five days before her 55th birthday, citing the medical liability crisis in a letter in the local newspaper as one of the main reasons for her early retirement
  • Endocrinologist Diane Schmidt, Grand View Hospital, can no longer see consultations or in-patients, and has limited her practice to office visits only as a result of her practice’s inability to recruit a new associate over the past three years to handle patient workload
  • Psychiatrist Michael Schwartz, Lower Bucks County, relocated
  • Ob/Gyn Stephanie Schwartz, Langhorne, eliminated obstetrics December 2003
  • Ob/Gyn D. Schwartzman, Quakertown, has dropped obstetrics and relocated to Bethlehem
  • Neurosurgeon Joseph Scogna experienced premium increases from $100,000 in 2001 to $400,000 in 2002
  • General Surgeon Mubarik Shah, Langhorne, retired early
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Carl Simons, Penndel, moved to Minnesota
  • Ob/Gyn Tony Smith, Doylestown Hospital, of the five-member group Engel, Smith and Associates, one of the largest Ob/Gyn practices in Central Bucks County, moved to the midwest in October, 2002, citing premium increases from $51,000 to $121,000 over
    the past two years and expiring coverage as reasons. The practice closed October 20, 2002.
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Barry Snyder, Levittown, Chief of Orthopedics at Temple Lower Bucks Hospital and on staff at St. Mary’s Medical Center, has limited his practice to operating only one day a week instead of three and discontinued ER, to reduce his premium by approximately $30,000 to $56,000
  • Endocrinologist Jay Springer, Grand View Hospital, can no longer see consultations or in-patients, and has limited her practice to office visits only as a result of her practice’s inability to recruit a new associate over the past three years to handle patient workload
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Herbert Stein, Lower Bucks County, has stopped operating
  • Stoneridge Ob/Gyn Associates, the largest practice affiliated with Sellersville’s Grand View Hospital, was forced to get insurance through a 12-hospital consortium at a 50% increase, or $100,000 per doctor, when its insurer decided to pull out of SE PA
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Wayne Stuart, Quakertown, gave up surgery in 2004
  • Family Practitioner William Sugden, Buckingham Family Medicine, retired and left the practice on July 1, 2003
  • Dermatologist Norman Sykes, Quakertown, retired early in 2004
  • Ob/Gyn David Tannenbaum, Doylestown, was forced to close his six-year old private practice to be employed by a hospital-owned large practice in Montgomery County in 2004
  • Trauma Surgeon Sidney Vail, Director of the Trauma Center at St. Mary’s Medical Center, relocated to Virginia
  • Ob/Gyn Fara Vikoren, Doylestown, eliminated surgery in 2003 and will do gynecology only
  • Ob/Gyn Anne Walker, Center for Women’s Health, eliminated obstetrics in November 2003
  • Ob/Gyn Wendy Warner, Center for Women’s Health, eliminated obstetrics in November 2003
  • Orthopedic Surgeon J. Michael Whitaker, of the three-member group Doylestown Orthopedic Specialists, was forced to give up surgery for three weeks, along with his two associates, after receiving a malpractice premium increase of 160% to $184,000 per doctor. The group was forced to sign with the JUA for coverage with assistance from the hospital, which wanted to provide better orthopedic coverage in the ER
  • Family Practitioner Jeff Wilkins, Upper Bucks County, has given up clinical practice and accepted a position with a pharmaceutical company
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Dane Wukich, Quakertown, relocated to Ohio in 2003
  • Ob/Gyn Nathan Zuckerman, Langhorne, retired early in 2003
  • Cardiologist Mark Zweben, Langhorne, relocated to Delaware in 2003

Hospital and Other Effects:

  • Doylestown Hospital lost money in 2001, according to the PA Health Care Cost Containment Council, due in part, to increased malpractice premiums, and expects to lose money again in 2002 as malpractice coverage has increased from $1.9 million for 2001 to $4.8 million for 2002, according to CEO Richard Reif
  • Doylestown Hospital reports that only five of eight orthopedic surgeons on staff are able to take ER call, as one large three-doctor group can no longer perform surgery due to loss of insurance coverage and inability to pay a 160% increase to the JUA
  • Doylestown Hospital’s VP and Chief Medical Officer Edwin Knopf reports that he used to get 12-15 inquiries a month from physicians interested in coming to the hospital-now he doesn’t get any
  • Doylestown Women’s Health Center, Doylestown Hospital, experienced malpractice increases from $50,000 to $80,000 in the past year and was forced to lay off employees as a result of the increase, according to Ob/Gyn Jean Fitzgerald
  • Grand View Hospital’s premiums increased from $900,000 in 2000 to $1.8 million in 2001 to $3 million in 2002, according to CEO Stuart Fine, who says that comes to more than $8,200 a day or $350 an hour.
  • Grand View Hospital closed the Medic 152 ambulance substation on Bethlehem Pike; officials cite rising malpractice premiums coupled with a downtown in reimbursements. The substation alone would have lost $130,000 this year if it had been kept open
  • Grand View Hospital closed its 20 bed Skilled Nursing Unit in 2002, due in part to “significant increases in the cost of medical malpractice insurance, “ according to CEO Stuart Fine.
  • Interventional Radiology at Doylestown Hospital is having difficulty recruiting radiologists because of liability and low reimbursements
  • St. Luke’s Quakertown lost money in 2001, due, in part, to malpractice premiums
  • St. Luke’s Quakertown no longer has a gynecological surgeon on staff
  • St. Luke’s Quakertown has lost six specialists since last year
  • St. Mary’s Medical Center, Middletown, estimates that 13 physicians have left or scaled back services because of malpractice insurance

BUTLER COUNTY:
Physician Effect:

  • Dr. James Byers retired in 2003, due primarily to the liability crisis
CAMBRIA COUNTY:
Physician Effect:
  • Pathologist Stephen T. Bush, who had for years of semi-retirement accepted requests to provide temporary pathology services for small hospitals, has been forced to discontinue providing these services “due to the unreasonable risks of malpractice claims and increases in malpractice insurance premiums,” and has limited his professional activity to providing expert testimony and case reviews in workers’ compensation claims
  • Neurosurgeon P. Madson relocated to California in 2004 when he could not obtain malpractice coverage when he decided to begin a solo practice in PA
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Michael Scaglione, Miner’s Hospital, left Pennsylvania
CARBON COUNTY:
Physician Effect:
  • Vascular Surgeon Homayoun Hashemi, Palmerton Hospital, is moving to Virginia in 2003
  • Dr. Cheryl Lipson, president of the Carbon County Medical Society, has been unsuccessfully attempting to recruit young physicians to her practice
  • Ob/Gyn Satish Nayak, Palmerton Hospital, has cut back his practice to part-time and was forced to close his office in Tamaqua (Schuylkill County) in 2002 due to premium increases from $20,000 10 years ago, to $50,000 in 2001, to an estimated $75,000 in 2002.
  • OB/Gyn Alessandro Boschi, Palmerton Hospital’s only fulltime obstetrician, was forced to finance his malpractice premium in 2001, the first time he had to do so in his 13 years in practice

CENTRE COUNTY:
Physician Effect:

  • Family Practitioner Stephen Pandolph can no longer accept patients who may end up in a nursing home
  • ER Physician Randy Payne, Port Matilda, gave up medicine in 2003 due to constant threats of malprcatice
  • Ob/Gyn Gerald Clair has given up obstetrics and gynecological surgery
  • An ER Specialist relocated from Centre County to Virginia in June, 2003
  • An Ob/Gyn relocated from Centre County to Wisconsin in June, 2003
  • A Maxilo-facial Surgeon left Centre County in June, 2003

Hospital and Other Effects:

  • Penn State Hershey Medical Center closed its psychiatric inpatient unit for older adults on March 1, 2003, due in part to rapidly escalating medical liability premiums, which have risen from $8.8 million in 1998-99, to $16.8 million in 2001-2002 and to $22.2 million for 2002-03. Other reductions have been in equipment and leading-edge investments and scaling back various hospital services, according to CEO Hefner as reported in the Centre Daily Times.

CHESTER COUNTY:
Physician Effect:

  • Dermatologist Alice Androkites, Paoli, moved to Maine
  • General Surgeon Manoucher Afshari relocated to Maine in 2003, but retained a PA medical license
  • Pulmonologist Frank Barsch, Brandywine Hospital, following 18 years of service, has moved to Virginia
  • Internist Marc Blossom relocated to Montana in December 2002 after 15 years as a primary care provider in Chester County
  • Primary Care Specialist Daniel Bouti is leaving his 20-year old established practice and moving upstate in 2004 to work part time in order to obtain lower medical liability premiums
  • Pediatrician Marie Breslin, West Chester, stopped practicing medicine in her 30’s
  • ENT Eric Carlson, Chester County Hospital/Fitzgerald Mercy Hospital, has retired
  • Family Practitioner John Carlson, Chester County Hospital, has moved to Texas
  • Neurosurgeon Vinnie Chitale relocated to Georgia in 2003, but retained a PA medical license
  • Family Practitioner Ron Ciccone, MLP Physicians in Exton and Newtown Square, accepted a salaried position in New Jersey on September 1, 2003 after 15 years of private practice
  • Ob/Gyn Ronald Clauhs has given up obstetrics
  • Urologist Joseph Conti, Paoli Hospital, has left PA. Last year Dr. Conti resigned from S. Chester Medical Center staff to continue practicing at other area hospitals due to increased workload and inability to recruit a urologist
  • Crozer Keystone Health System was forced to purchase the private neurosurgical practice of the four neurosurgeons on staff at the hospital in 2003 in order to keep it from closing and all four staff neurosurgeons from retiring or relocating
  • ENT David Cunningham, Phoenixville Hospital and Bryn Mawr Hospital, moved to North Carolina
  • Cardiac Surgeon Paul Davis, Paoli Meorial Hospital, moved to Delaware
  • Anesthesiologist Jay Dua died and no replacement has been able to be found
  • General Surgeon Willian Dellevigne has retired early
  • Plastic Surgeon Frank DeLone, Chester Council Medical Center, moved his practice to Delaware in 2003, but retained a PA medical license
  • Ob/Gyn Dennis Easter moved to Indiana due to low reimbursements and high malpractice premiums
  • Family Practitioner Barbara Elko, Phoenixville Hospital, left private practice for a salaried polsition as an inpatient “hospitalist” due to the liability crisis
  • Ob/Gyn Joseph Ferroni, Malvern, stopped doing obstetrics in 2003
  • Ob/Gyn David Fink, Christiana Obstetrics and Gynecology, Jennersville Regional Hospital, was forced to close the Pennsylvania practice in 2003 and is expanding hours at the Delaware office to accommodate patients. Their newspaper ad read: “Forced to Close Our Doors! The Pennsylvania medical malpractice insurance crisis has forced Christiana OB/GYN to close the Jennersville office.”
  • Anesthesiologist Thomas J. Finkelston, United Anesthesia Services, practicing on the Main Line, relocated to Maryland in July 2002, citing “outrageous” malpractice premiums, low reimbursements and an anti-physician atmosphere in Southeastern PA as reasons for his relocation
  • Thoracic Surgeon James Finnegan, Crozer Medical Center and Riddle Memorial Hospital, closed his 29-year-old PA practice on June 30, 2003; he continues to practice in Woodbury, New Jersey
  • ENT Steve Fisher was forced to give up surgery, while a younger associate in his practice relocated to Ohio in 2003, but retained a PA medical license
  • Family Practitioner Stew Foreman, Phoenixville Hospital, moved to Florida
  • ENT Sara Fowler has moved to Iowa
  • Trauma/General Surgeon Carlo Gammatoni, Brandywine Hospital, moved to Maine in 2003
  • GI Specialist Andrei Gasic, Phoenixville Hospital, moved to Texas
  • Internist Giselle Geddes, Chester County Hospital, has left medicine
  • Longtime Ob/Gyn Corazon Gemil stopped delivering babies
  • General Surgeon William Gerhard, Chester, retired early in 2003, but retained a PA medical license
  • Neurologist Bruce Grossinger shifted the main portion of his practice to Delaware in 2003, but retained a PA medical license
  • Ob/Gyn Christina Hamill, Bryn Mawr Hospital, left PA in 2003
  • Anesthesiologist Mark Hamill, Bryn Mawr Hospital, left PA in 2003
  • General Surgeon Scott Harad left Chester for the midwest in 2003, but retained a PA medical license
  • ENT Tim Heffron, Phoenixville Hospital, moved to North Carolina
  • Ob/Gyn Dr. Hendrzak, Paoli Hospital, left in July, 2002
  • ENT Maury Hoberman has retired early
  • Gynecologic Oncologist W. Michael Hogan, Bryn Mawr Hospital, left PA in 2003
  • Radiologist James Holstein, chief of staff at Brandywine Hospital, noted in 2003 that his radiology group cannot recruit young physicians
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Leigh Hopkins, Bryn Mawr Hospital, left PA in 2003
  • Anesthesiologist Stephen Houser, Lankenau and Paoli Hospitals, relocated to North Carolina in 2004
  • Internist Dwight Johnson, Chester County Hospital, has closed his practice and a accepted a position as a hospitalist at Brandywine Hospital
  • Hand Surgeon Razaullah Khwaja, Jennersville Regional Hospital, will be doing most of his surgery in Maryland and limiting services to PA patients beginning in 2003
  • Internist Kevin Kearns, left practice to take a position at a hospital
  • Family Practitioner Dean Koukos, West Chester, left private practice in November 2001 to do industrial medicine
  • Urologist Dr. Deborah Kulp resigned from S. Chester Medical Center staff to continue practicing at other area hospitals due to impossible workload and inability to recruit a urologist associate
  • ENT William Lovrinic has retired early
  • Neurosurgeon Samuel Lyness, Brandywine Hospital, closed his practice in April, 2003 and moved to El Paso, Texas. Previously, Dr. Lyness was the primary provider of neurosurgical trauma care in Chester County; his departure will leave only one neurosurgeon in the county and none at Brandywine Hospital.
  • Ob/Gyn Christine Lyon has given up urogynecology
  • Internist F. William Maguire, Jennersville Regional Hospital, passed away in 2003 and the hospital expects to have great difficulty replacing him
  • Neurologist Martin Mandel, Jennersville Regional Hospital, passed away in 2003 and the hospital expects to have great difficulty replacing him
  • ENT Frances Marschant no longer does surgery
  • Family Practitioner Tricia Maud left the practice of medicine
  • Plastic Surgeon Mike McClellans, Chester County Medical Center, moved his practice to Delaware in 2003, but retained a PA medical license
  • Anesthesiologist Mary McLaughlin, Bryn Mawr Hospital, left PA in 2003
  • Internist Richard Morris, Chester County Hospital, relocated to Delaware July 15, 2003 but retained his PA medical license
  • ENT Specialist Richard Muggee, Phoenixville Hospital, moved to Connecticut; his wife, a pediatric anesthesiologist, also moved to Connecticut
  • General/Trauma Surgeon George Murr, Brandywine Hospital, moved to Bakersfield, California after 22 years in practice
  • Geriatrician Willard Nagle, Chester County Hospital, was forced to retire from his part-time practice in 2004 when his malpractice premiums and MCARE assessment exceeded his income
  • Ob/Gyn Kara Nakisbendi, Lankenau and Paoli Hospitals, stopped delivering babies on Oct. 31, 2002 and opened a fee for service gynecology practice in Ardmore
  • Radiation Oncologist Marlana Ottinger has moved to Maryland
  • General Surgeon Jerry Pieden left clinical surgery at the age of 37 to become a medical director at an insurance company
  • Ob/Gyn Jane Porcelan, Paoli Hospital, has stopped delivering babies
  • Dermatologist David Powell, Main Line Dermatology, West Chester and Wayne, relocated to Texas Nov. 20, 2003 and his associates have having difficulty accomodating the demand for their services as a result of his departure
  • Pathologist John Ragowski has retired
  • Family Practitioner Leon Rapko relocated to Connecticut in 2003 due to low reimbursement and high liability costs
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Craig Riegel, Brandywine and Paoli Memorial Hospital, specializing in arthroscopic surgery for sports injuries, relocated to Culpepper, Virginia in 2003, where his premium will be $30,000 instead of the $180,000 he currently pays the JUA
  • Internist Mike Rill, Brandywine Hospital, Lanchester Medical Associates, left PA in 2003
  • Internist Diane Rissane, Chester County Hospital, has left private practice and taken a job at the VA
  • General Surgeon Elisabeth Robinson, Brandywine Hospital, former chair of the trauma department, took a job with the VA in Rochester, New York so she would no longer have to deal with medical malpractice issues
  • Radiologist Ralph Rossi has retired
  • General Surgeon Ned Russell, Chester, retired early in 2003, but retained a PA medical license
  • Cardiologist Rick Samaha, Phoenixville Hospital, left Chester County and took a job at the Philadelphia VA Hosp
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Mike Sneddon, Bryn Mawr Hospital, moved to Roanoke, VA in 2003
  • Cardiologist Joe Stoffer, Paoli, left PA
  • Endocrinologist Amy Supnick is no longer practicing
  • Anesthesiologist Clare Thomas, Phoenixville Hospital, relocated to California in 2003
  • Valley Forge Ob/Gyn Associates-one member of six doctor staff stopped delivering babies in 2002
  • Valley Forge Ob/Gyn Associates-one member of six doctor staff went to work for a pharmaceutical firm in 2002
  • Valley Forge Ob/Gyn Associates-one member of six doctor staff left clinical practice completely in 2002
  • General Surgeon Phil Waldor, Phoenixville Hospital, moved to Texas
  • Ob/Gyn Candace Walters, Phoenixville Hospital, moved to Maine
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Michael Ward, Chester County Hospital, has retired
  • Opthalmologist Barry Wasserman moved to New Jersey
  • Internist Keith Weiss, Brandywine Hospital, Lanchester Medical Associates, left PA in 2003
  • Ob/Gyn Russell White, Christiana Obstetrics and Gynecology, Jennersville Regional Hospital, was forced to close the Pennsylvania practice in 2003 and is expanding hours at the Delaware office to accommodate patients. Their newspaper ad read: “Forced to Close Our Doors! The Pennsylvania medical malpractice insurance crisis has forced Christiana OB/GYN to close the Jennersville office.”
  • Ob/Gyn Donald Wilson, Brandywine Regional Medical Center, has left medicine
  • Family Practitioner John Wilson, Warminster, retired early in 2003
  • Family Practitioner Mary Wirship, Chester County Hospital, left private practice to become an administrator and part-time clinician for Volunteers in Medicine
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Charles Wolf has retired and no replacement has been recruited
  • Internist Robert Zieve, Chadds Ford, relocated to Colorado in February 2004
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Daniel Zimet, Brandywine Hospital, relocated to Virginia in 2003

Hospital and Other Effects:

  • Brandywine Hospital was forced to close its Level II Trauma Center on June 4, 2002 due to a lack of trauma surgeons, according to CEO R. Alan Larson, who cited “soaring malpractice premiums that are driving surgeons out of the state or into retirement.” Severely injured patients must be transported to Philadelphia or Lancaster, about 30 miles away. The hospital says the closure is temporary and is actively recruiting trauma surgeons to replace the University of Pennsylvania Health System surgeons who had previously staffed the unit until that relationship with Penn ended earlier in June.
  • Brandywine Hospital has lost one of its two neurosurgeons, according to Chief of staff Dr. James Holstein; he was forced to retire due to liability costs
  • Brandywine Hospital lost $6 million in 2001, according to the PA Health Care Cost Containment Council, due, in part, to increasing malpractice costs
  • CAT Fund physician payment figures for 1997 showed 1,147 practicing physicians in Chester County-for 2000, only 770 physicians in Chester County paid CAT fund premiums
  • Jennersville Regional Hospital reported in 2003 that it has only one practicing obstetrician on staff
  • Jennersville Regional Hospital (formerly Southern Chester Medical Center) lost $4.5 million in 2001, according to the PA Health Care Cost Containment Council, due, in part, to increasing malpractice premiums
  • Liability costs and reimbursement shortfalls forced closure of the Medic 92 Advanced Life Support Service, based at Paoli Hospital and serving all or part of five boroughs and townships in Chester County, according to Leland White, President of Main Line Health
  • Phoenixville Hospital has closed the Medic 95 ALS unit, due in part to liability costs as well as poor reimbursements. Consequently, the community will be at a much greater risk because the ER will have less ancillary staff to help decrease waits and treat cases effectively

CLARION COUNTY:
Physician Effect:

  • Family Practitioner Mark Maire, Clarion Hospital, moved to Thailand in August 2003 to do missionary work, citing liability issues as a major factor in his decision
  • Family Practitioner Kavin Zacour, Clarion Hospital, relocated to Ohio in August, 2003, citing liability issues as a contributing factor

CLEARFIELD COUNTY:
Physician Effect:

  • Pediatric Psychiatrist Dr. Aydin, Dubois Regional Medical Center, left Dubois in 2003
  • Pediatric Cardiologist Dr. Chandrashakur, Dubois Regional Medical Center, left Dubois in 2003
  • General Surgeon Michael T. Dotsey, Clearfield Hospital, retired July 1, 2002, from a thriving practice at the age of 55 due to insurance costs
  • Psychiatrist Dr. Fritz, Dubois Regional Medical Center, left Dubois in 2003
  • Primary Care Specialist Dr. Moclock, Dubois Regional Medical Center, left Dubois in 2003
  • General Surgeon Tim Phillips, Clearfield Hospital, Dr. Dotsey’s associate, was forced to resign his position as 6th District Trustee for the PA Medical Society in order to cover the additional workload
  • Internist Darren Smeal, Clearfield Hospital, PSU College of Medicine Group, is relocating to Florida in December 2003
  • Ob/Gyn Praxido Tagala, Clearfield Hospital, was forced to give up obstetrics
  • Geriatric Psychiatrist Dr. Tsou, Dubois Regional Medical Center, left Dubois in 2003
  • ER Specialist Kip Wenger, Director of Emergency Medicine at Dubois Regional Medical Center, is relocating to Tennessee in May 2004, and, according to a colleague, “is indispensible and probably cannot be replaced!”
  • Three radiologists at Clearfield Hospital were forced to give up interventional radiologic procedures in 2003

Hospital and Other Effects:

  • Clearfield Hospital reports that it has only one physician in each of the following specialties left on staff: ENT, General Surgery, Oral Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Pediatrics, Ob/Gyn
  • Clearfield Hospital’s Department of Radiology was instructed by its insurance carrier to eliminate high-risk interventional radiologic procedures such as CT guided biopsies and drainages, and ultrasound guided paracenteses or thoracenteses. Patients requiring these procedures must now travel about an hour to a hospital which offers these services

To continue with this article click here

CONCERNED CITIZENS FOR CARE
P.O. Box 1280, Buckingham, PA 18912
© 2004 Concerned Citizens for Care, all right reserved.