If you’re in medical school right now, you might want to think better of setting up a medical practice in New York state. A study out today by WalletHub has found the Empire State as the third worst for doctors, coming out just ahead of Rhode Island and New Jersey.The Washington, D.C.-based personal finance website arrived at its findings by comparing all 50 states and the District of Columbia across 16 key metrics including average annual wage of physicians, hospitals per capita and quality of the public hospital systems.
One of the biggest knocks against working in New York as a doctor – long cited by physicians themselves – is the high cost of malpractice liability insurance. And the study bore that out, landing New York in first place as having the most expensive annual malpractice liability insurance. Following New York in the bottom five were Illinois, Michigan, the District of Columbia and West Virginia doing a bit better. The top five least expensive states for malpractice insurance in ascending order were Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Kansas.
Tied for last place among states with the highest malpractice award payout amount per capita were New Jersey, New York and New Hampshire. The states with the lowest payout amount were Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, North Carolina and Texas.
According to a recent medical malpractice payout analysis by Diedrich Healthcare, New York’s amount last year was $617.9 million. Pennsylvania was second at $342 million and New Jersey was third at $267.9 million in payouts among Northeast states, according to the Diedrich report.
In January, an agreement was reached among New York lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Lavern’s Law, legislation that would extend the amount of time a person can file a suit for a missed cancer diagnosis. In February, Cuomo signed legislation that would extend the time a patient has to bring a malpractice suit involving cancer from 15 months from the date of the misdiagnosis to 2½ years. Opponents said the new law would further increase the cost of medical liability.
Exacerbating the cost of malpractice insurance is the amount that New York doctors are paid. The state came in at 49th place in the WalletHub study in wages for doctors. Adjusting for cost of living, the study found that the states with the highest average annual wage for doctors are Mississippi, South Dakota, Iowa, Georgia and Tennessee.