Physicians Insurance Making Headway in Oregon

Tim Smigel

Tim Smigel
Account Executive

As the leading physician-owned professional liability insurance carrier in the Northwest, Physicians Insurance continues to grow in the Oregon market. More and more physicians and their administrative staff are seeing the benefits that we bring to the table in terms of our corporate structure, coverage, services, and claims support. Physicians Insurance’s marketing strategy, legislative work, rural reinsurance program, and benefits for hospital-employed physicians are making a difference in Oregon.

Increasing awareness of Physicians Insurance in Oregon

In Oregon we educate physicians and their administrative staff on the ways Physicians Insurance can benefit their practices. To that end we participate in conferences, such as the Oregon Medical Group Management Association conferences, and several specialty-society meetings. We support Project Access Now, which helps low-income people in the Portland/Vancouver metropolitan area obtain access to health care. We write introductory letters and conduct informational meetings for clinics, and we present clinic managers with a variety of options so they can choose the coverage that best fits their needs. We always emphasize how our corporate structure, coverage options, services, and claims handling make our company unique. When physicians and clinics learn about our tailored risk management programs, aggressive claims handling, and focus on service, they often get excited about how Physicians Insurance can make a positive change in their organization.

Our activity in the Oregon legislature

In addition to creating awareness about Physicians Insurance, we are active on the political front, by working to benefit the interests of Northwest physicians. Anne Bryant, our company’s senior director of government relations, is a board member of the Oregon Liability Reform Coalition. Physicians Insurance is also a member of the Association of Oregon Industries, and we attend strategic meetings to collaborate with other Oregon organizations committed to improving health care. Currently, we are paying close attention and working as a stakeholder with other medical professional liability insurance carriers as the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) prepares to make recommendations to the legislature in six areas of medical liability and defensive medicine as a result of section 16 of HB 3650. One study, for example, focuses on the benefits and impacts of caps on awards of damages resulting from medical malpractice. We will continue to work with the OHA and diligently protect the interests of our physician members.

Our support of rural health care in Oregon

While Physicians Insurance has grown in Portland, Salem, Bend, Eugene, and Medford, we are also dedicated to growth in rural Oregon. Physicians Insurance proudly participates in the Oregon Rural Medical Liability Subsidy Program, which provides financial support to qualifying physicians based in rural areas for their malpractice costs. We participate in the program to improve access to care and support physicians in rural areas of Oregon. As a result of the passage of SB 608, the program was fully funded and is expected to extend another three years. To see if your group qualifies for financial relief, and to learn more about the program, please see the Oregon Health & Science University Web site.

Our work with hospital-employed physicians

Physicians Insurance provides several options to hospitals to insure their employed physicians separately from the hospital liability policy. Both the hospital and the physicians benefit when Physicians Insurance provides risk management services and claims handling that is specific to each physician’s needs and interests. In addition, we now have a small hospital insurance program, currently active in Washington and scheduled to be available in Oregon in 2012.

Physicians Insurance is still growing in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, and each year we offer new products and educational opportunities for our members. Whereas other carriers are concerned with their stockholders, Physicians Insurance’s sole purpose is to benefit its insured members, who are all owners. If you know physicians who are a part of a group not insured with Physicians Insurance, we encourage you to talk to them about the benefits of Physicians Insurance membership and give us a call.