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Patients Compensation Fund Shows Negative Balance

The Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) recently completed its review of the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund, which provides compensation for medical malpractice claims that exceed providers’ medical malpractice insurance. Over 13,000 doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers are required by state law to pay into this fund. In 2007, the fund reported $94.4 million in assets and now shows a deficit of $109.0 million. In addition to normal claims payments, LAB identified two significant causes that created the deficit in the fund: (1) a 2005 Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling that had the effect of raising the malpractice claims cap from $350,000 in 2005 to $750,000 by 2006, and (2) the Legislature’s raid for $200 million from the Fund as part of the 2007-2009 biennial budget.