I don't know if there's huge problems, I think we passed legislation putting a cap on "Emotional damages" here in CA. That's the element of malpractice that really drives up the rates.
Well, that, and IMHO, the fact that people in our culture are no longer willing to accept the simple fact that bad things happen-and there's nothing that even the most expert and best intentioned doctors can do to prevent it 100% of the time.
However, it's hella expensive to set up shop here in the major metropolitan areas, a friend of mine was saying that a newly-minted Pediatric MD she new had to come up with $200k to set up here in L.A.
Any input from someone who's actually practicing here in CA?
I just moved out of California. Yes, it was very expensive to start a practice there. Many of my friends gave up and went to huge multi-specialty groups like Kaiser (and they all said they felt like they sold out --- but had no choice financially and stress wise). Kaiser draws doctors in by offering nice benefit packages emphasizing that they cover malpractice and tail cost. There are some caps in place in Cali, however, the malpractice rates are still high. I just moved to another state and the cost are the same here as in Cali. There was an article in the paper here 2 weeks ago that talked about all the doctors leaving this state due to the steep malpractice cost.
I guess it depends on your definition of "problems" here in CA. Its a lot less expensive here than other states, but I still think its crazy that we have to buy malpractice insurance at all. Bad things happen...even to the nicest people and the most careful doctors. I find it abhorrent that our society instantly goes to, "lets sue!" when something awful happens.
I pay my own malpractice (about 15K a year for FP with OB). I'm actually leaving CA (b/c its too expensive to LIVE here) and will be going to another state with similar malpractice costs (though these will be paid by my new employer). I will have to pay $22K in tail insurance for 4 years of practice. Ouch.
The reason our premiums are less than other states is that pain and suffering is capped at $250K in CA.