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 “A President must call on many persons – some to man the ramparts and to watch the far away, distant posts; others to lead us in science, medicine, education and social progress here at home.”
— Lyndon B. Johnson

Washington's Birthday, or Presidents' Day, honors the life and work of the first president of the United States, George Washington.

The third Monday of February is known as Presidents’ Day but that was not always the case. For nearly 100 years, America honored its first president, George Washington, on February 22, his actual birthday.

In 1968 the U.S. Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The act meant that some public holidays would always fall on a Monday. Today, the country honors its first president on the third Monday in February.

Presidents’ Day or President’s Day? Depends on whom you ask

Happy President's Day

For the past 28 years, the United Health Foundation has produced an annual report assessing the nation’s health on a state-by-state basis. The report is a great tool to measure progress, identify emerging trends, and drive action for improving public health.

The rankings have been broken down into four core measures which directly influence health outcomes:

  • Behaviors
  • Community & Environment
  • Policy
  • Clinical Care

Here we take a look at the states that fall within the territory of the Southern Medical Association.

Originally founded to address the needs of patients in the Southeastern United States( Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland/DC, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia), SMA membership currently includes members from all 50 states and international members.

It should be quite obvious that we are in an area of great need, with the southern states heavily represented in the bottom of the rankings.

Over the course of the year, SMA plans to look deeper into some of the issues addressed in this report and drive discussion on what we can do to improve patient care in the South.

Expand the tabs below to see individual state rankings.

Health Rankings SMA Territory Map

The statistics used to rank the states within the Southern Medical Association's territory were taken from America’s Health Rankings Annual Report, 2017 Edition.  ©2017 United Health Foundation. We encourage you to view the full report for additional statistics and information on all 50 states.

SMA's Vision
Physician-directed educational and leadership activities that include diverse teams of healthcare professionals interacting, collaborating, and learning for the purpose of improving the quality of patient care.

Find out how you can be a part of the solution. Contact Randy Glick, Executive Director, at rglick@sma.org.

2017 State Rankings

Alabama
Overall State Ranking - 47
no change

Behaviors

38

Drug Deaths

22

14.3 per 100,000 population

Excessive Drinking

5

14.2 % of adults

Obesity

47

35.7 % of adults

Physical Inactivity

44

29.4 % of adults

Smoking

42

21.5 % of adults

Community
& Environment

48

Air Pollution

39

8.9 micrograms per cubic meter

Children in Poverty

47

24.3 % of children

Infectious Disease

40

.363 mean z score

Occupational Fatalities

35

5.5 deaths per 100,000

Violent Crime

44

532 offenses per 100,000

Policy

23

Immunizations - Adolescents

36

-.333 mean z score

Immunizations - Children

7

77.3 of children 19-35 months

Public Health Funding

10

$113 per person

Uninsured

33

9.6 % of population

Clinical
Care

47

Dentists

48

43.7 per 100,000

Low Birthweight

48

10.4 % of live births

Mental Health Providers

50

85 per 100,000

Preventable Hospitalizations

46

62 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees

Primary Care Physicians

42

119.3 per 100,000

Health
Outcomes

49

Cancer Deaths

43

210.6 per 100,000

Cardiovascular Deaths

49

339.6 per 100,000

Diabetes

49

14.6 % of adults

Infant Mortality

49

8.5 deaths per 1,000 live births

Premature Deaths

48

10,321 years lost before age 75 per 100,000

Arkansas
Overall State Ranking - 48
no change

Behaviors

45

Drug Deaths

14

12.3 per 100,000 population

Excessive Drinking

9

15.9 % of adults

Obesity

47

35.7 % of adults

Physical Inactivity

50

32.5 % of adults

Smoking

48

23.6 % of adults

Community
& Environment

42

Air Pollution

16

7.2 micrograms per cubic meter

Children in Poverty

39

21.4 % of children

Infectious Disease

41

.413 mean z score

Occupational Fatalities

44

7.5 deaths per 100,000

Violent Crime

45

551 offenses per 100,000

Policy

27

Immunizations - Adolescents

19

.135 mean z score

Immunizations - Children

39

67.8 of children 19-35 months

Public Health Funding

14

$107 per person

Uninsured

27

8.7 % of population

Clinical
Care

48

Dentists

50

41.2 per 100,000

Low Birthweight

43

9.2 % of live births

Mental Health Providers

26

213.3 per 100,000

Preventable Hospitalizations

45

61.8 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees

Primary Care Physicians

43

115.4 per 100,000

Health
Outcomes

48

Cancer Deaths

47

219.5 per 100,000

Cardiovascular Deaths

47

323 per 100,000

Diabetes

47

13.5 % of adults

Infant Mortality

44

7.5 deaths per 1,000 live births

Premature Deaths

45

9,972 years lost before age 75 per 100,000

Florida
Overall State Ranking - 32
up 4

Behaviors

28

Drug Deaths

20

14.1 per 100,000 population

Excessive Drinking

19

17.5 % of adults

Obesity

14

27.4 % of adults

Physical Inactivity

46

29.8 % of adults

Smoking

16

15.5 % of adults

Community
& Environment

28

Air Pollution

13

6.8 micrograms per cubic meter

Children in Poverty

32

18.7 % of children

Infectious Disease

36

.277 mean z score

Occupational Fatalities

26

4.6 deaths per 100,000

Violent Crime

33

430 offenses per 100,000

Policy

46

Immunizations - Adolescents

30

-.180 mean z score

Immunizations - Children

41

67.1 of children 19-35 months

Public Health Funding

40

$63 per person

Uninsured

46

12.9 % of population

Clinical
Care

32

Dentists

30

52.3 per 100,000

Low Birthweight

35

8.6 % of live births

Mental Health Providers

41

144.8 per 100,000

Preventable Hospitalizations

35

53.6 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees

Primary Care Physicians

32

131.6 per 100,000

Health
Outcomes

32

Cancer Deaths

14

182.1 per 100,000

Cardiovascular Deaths

14

229 per 100,000

Diabetes

40

11.8 % of adults

Infant Mortality

29

6.2 deaths per 1,000 live births

Premature Deaths

27

7,412 years lost before age 75 per 100,000

Georgia
Overall State Ranking - 41
no change

Behaviors

35

Drug Deaths

12

11.9 per 100,000 population

Excessive Drinking

7

15.1 % of adults

Obesity

30

31.4 % of adults

Physical Inactivity

44

29.4 % of adults

Smoking

28

17.9 % of adults

Community
& Environment

39

Air Pollution

41

9.0 micrograms per cubic meter

Children in Poverty

46

23.2 % of children

Infectious Disease

35

.267 mean z score

Occupational Fatalities

29

4.8 deaths per 100,000

Violent Crime

30

398 offenses per 100,000

Policy

33

Immunizations - Adolescents

10

.765 mean z score

Immunizations - Children

7

77.3 of children 19-35 months

Public Health Funding

35

$72 per person

Uninsured

47

13.4 % of population

Clinical
Care

42

Dentists

46

46.7 per 100,000

Low Birthweight

45

9.5 % of live births

Mental Health Providers

46

122.5 per 100,000

Preventable Hospitalizations

30

50.2 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees

Primary Care Physicians

41

119.9 per 100,000

Health
Outcomes

41

Cancer Deaths

30

195.2 per 100,000

Cardiovascular Deaths

38

278.1 per 100,000

Diabetes

42

12.1 % of adults

Infant Mortality

45

7.6 deaths per 1,000 live births

Premature Deaths

35

8,185 years lost before age 75 per 100,000

Kentucky
Overall State Ranking - 42
up 3

Behaviors

47

Drug Deaths

49

25.5 per 100,000 population

Excessive Drinking

8

15.8 % of adults

Obesity

44

34.2 % of adults

Physical Inactivity

46

29.8 % of adults

Smoking

49

24.5 % of adults

Community
& Environment

26

Air Pollution

38

8.8 micrograms per cubic meter

Children in Poverty

38

20.7 % of children

Infectious Disease

7

-.643 mean z score

Occupational Fatalities

35

5.5 deaths per 100,000

Violent Crime

7

232 offenses per 100,000

Policy

16

Immunizations - Adolescents

28

-.138 mean z score

Immunizations - Children

16

74.5 of children 19-35 months

Public Health Funding

29

$79 per person

Uninsured

9

5.6 % of population

Clinical
Care

39

Dentists

25

54.6 per 100,000

Low Birthweight

38

8.7 % of live births

Mental Health Providers

27

194.6 per 100,000

Preventable Hospitalizations

50

76.6 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees

Primary Care Physicians

40

120.6 per 100,000

Health
Outcomes

42

Cancer Deaths

50

233.6 per 100,000

Cardiovascular Deaths

44

296.4 per 100,000

Diabetes

46

13.1 % of adults

Infant Mortality

38

6.9 deaths per 1,000 live births

Premature Deaths

47

10,042 years lost before age 75 per 100,000

Louisiana
Overall State Ranking - 49
no change

Behaviors

50

Drug Deaths

32

17.7 per 100,000 population

Excessive Drinking

25

18.5 % of adults

Obesity

46

35.5 % of adults

Physical Inactivity

43

29.1 % of adults

Smoking

47

22.8 % of adults

Community
& Environment

50

Air Pollution

25

7.8 micrograms per cubic meter

Children in Poverty

49

28.3 % of children

Infectious Disease

50

.947 mean z score

Occupational Fatalities

44

7.5 deaths per 100,000

Violent Crime

46

566 offenses per 100,000

Policy

38

Immunizations - Adolescents

11

.680 mean z score

Immunizations - Children

44

66.8 of children 19-35 months

Public Health Funding

26

$86 per person

Uninsured

42

11.1 % of population

Clinical
Care

49

Dentists

42

48.2 per 100,000

Low Birthweight

49

10.6 % of live births

Mental Health Providers

18

257.1 per 100,000

Preventable Hospitalizations

47

65.8 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees

Primary Care Physicians

33

131.1 per 100,000

Health
Outcomes

49

Cancer Deaths

46

218.2 per 100,000

Cardiovascular Deaths

46

316.2 per 100,000

Diabetes

42

12.1 % of adults

Infant Mortality

45

7.6 deaths per 1,000 live births

Premature Deaths

46

10,003 years lost before age 75 per 100,000

Maryland
Overall State Ranking - 16
up 2

Behaviors

7

Drug Deaths

32

17.7 per 100,000 population

Excessive Drinking

10

16.5 % of adults

Obesity

24

29.9 % of adults

Physical Inactivity

23

23.1 % of adults

Smoking

6

13.7 % of adults

Community
& Environment

22

Air Pollution

41

9 micrograms per cubic meter

Children in Poverty

4

9.6 % of children

Infectious Disease

16

-.353 mean z score

Occupational Fatalities

10

3.9 deaths per 100,000

Violent Crime

40

472 offenses per 100,000

Policy

17

Immunizations - Adolescents

21

.027 mean z score

Immunizations - Children

17

74.4 % of children 19-35 months

Public Health Funding

20

$95 per person

Uninsured

17

6.4 % of population

Clinical
Care

13

Dentists

9

70.7 per 100,000

Low Birthweight

35

8.6 % of live births

Mental Health Providers

23

219.3 per 100,000

Preventable Hospitalizations

20

46.7 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees

Primary Care Physicians

8

184.9 per 100,000

Health
Outcomes

16

Cancer Deaths

21

187.8 per 100,000

Cardiovascular Deaths

31

255 per 100,000

Diabetes

29

10.8 % of adults

Infant Mortality

33

6.6 deaths per 1,000 live births

Premature Deaths

21

7,113 years lost before age 75 per 100,000

Mississippi
Overall State Ranking - 50
no change

Behaviors

49

Drug Deaths

8

11.5 per 100,000 population

Excessive Drinking

4

13.7 % of adults

Obesity

49

37.3 % of adults

Physical Inactivity

49

30.3 % of adults

Smoking

46

22.7 % of adults

Community
& Environment

44

Air Pollution

20

7.5 micrograms per cubic meter

Children in Poverty

50

29.9% of children

Infectious Disease

45

.660 mean z score

Occupational Fatalities

48

9.3 deaths per 100,000

Violent Crime

15

281 offenses per 100,000

Policy

47

Immunizations - Adolescents

50

-1.647 mean z score

Immunizations - Children

27

70.4 of children 19-35 months

Public Health Funding

30

$77 per person

Uninsured

45

12.3 % of population

Clinical
Care

50

Dentists

49

42.2 per 100,000

Low Birthweight

50

11.4 % of live births

Mental Health Providers

45

132.6per 100,000

Preventable Hospitalizations

48

70.2 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees

Primary Care Physicians

47

105.9 per 100,000

Health
Outcomes

50

Cancer Deaths

48

226.7 per 100,000

Cardiovascular Deaths

50

352.5 per 100,000

Diabetes

48

13.6 % of adults

Infant Mortality

50

8.8 deaths per 1,000 live births

Premature Deaths

50

10,950 years lost before age 75 per 100,000

Missouri
Overall State Ranking - 40
down 3

Behaviors

39

Drug Deaths

30

17.6 per 100,000 population

Excessive Drinking

33

19.5 % of adults

Obesity

34

31.7 % of adults

Physical Inactivity

33

24.9 % of adults

Smoking

43

22.1 % of adults

Community
& Environment

35

Air Pollution

33

8.3 micrograms per cubic meter

Children in Poverty

30

18.6 % of children

Infectious Disease

22

-.167 mean z score

Occupational Fatalities

29

4.8 deaths per 100,000

Violent Crime

43

519 offenses per 100,000

Policy

42

Immunizations - Adolescents

45

-1.133 mean z score

Immunizations - Children

43

66.9 of children 19-35 months

Public Health Funding

45

$53 per person

Uninsured

31

9.4 % of population

Clinical
Care

41

Dentists

41

48.5 per 100,000

Low Birthweight

29

8.3 % of live births

Mental Health Providers

36

171.5 per 100,000

Preventable Hospitalizations

40

56.6 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees

Primary Care Physicians

16

160.4 per 100,000

Health
Outcomes

40

Cancer Deaths

41

209 per 100,000

Cardiovascular Deaths

41

288.6 per 100,000

Diabetes

37

11.5 % of adults

Infant Mortality

30

6.3 deaths per 1,000 live births

Premature Deaths

40

8,558 years lost before age 75 per 100,000

North Carolina
Overall State Ranking - 33
down 1

Behaviors

26

Drug Deaths

19

14 per 100,000 population

Excessive Drinking

12

16.7 % of adults

Obesity

35

31.8 % of adults

Physical Inactivity

26

23.3 % of adults

Smoking

28

17.9 % of adults

Community
& Environment

31

Air Pollution

25

7.8 micrograms per cubic meter

Children in Poverty

35

19.3 % of children

Infectious Disease

48

.830 mean z score

Occupational Fatalities

10

3.9 deaths per 100,000

Violent Crime

26

372 offenses per 100,000

Policy

30

Immunizations - Adolescents

31

-.217 mean z score

Immunizations - Children

6

77.8 of children 19-35 months

Public Health Funding

42

$56 per person

Uninsured

41

10.8 % of population

Clinical
Care

31

Dentists

36

51.2 per 100,000

Low Birthweight

41

9.1 % of live births

Mental Health Providers

24

219.1 per 100,000

Preventable Hospitalizations

26

49 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees

Primary Care Physicians

34

130.9 per 100,000

Health
Outcomes

33

Cancer Deaths

32

196.9 per 100,000

Cardiovascular Deaths

30

254.3 per 100,000

Diabetes

35

11.3 % of adults

Infant Mortality

42

7.2 deaths per 1,000 live births

Premature Deaths

33

7,889 years lost before age 75 per 100,000

Oklahoma
Overall State Ranking - 43
up 3

Behaviors

37

Drug Deaths

41

20.3 per 100,000 population

Excessive Drinking

2

12.8 % of adults

Obesity

42

32.8 % of adults

Physical Inactivity

41

28.5 % of adults

Smoking

36

19.6 % of adults

Community
& Environment

41

Air Pollution

30

8.1 micrograms per cubic meter

Children in Poverty

41

21.7 % of children

Infectious Disease

38

.280 mean z score

Occupational Fatalities

47

8.1 deaths per 100,000

Violent Crime

37

450 offenses per 100,000

Policy

49

Immunizations - Adolescents

34

-.323 mean z score

Immunizations - Children

42

67 of children 19-35 months

Public Health Funding

25

$87 per person

Uninsured

48

13.9 % of population

Clinical
Care

43

Dentists

39

49.6 per 100,000

Low Birthweight

22

7.9% of live births

Mental Health Providers

5

382.7 per 100,000

Preventable Hospitalizations

44

59.9 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees

Primary Care Physicians

35

127.5 per 100,000

Health
Outcomes

43

Cancer Deaths

45

216.9 per 100,000

Cardiovascular Deaths

48

335.2 per 100,000

Diabetes

41

12 % of adults

Infant Mortality

47

7.7 deaths per 1,000 live births

Premature Deaths

44

9,951 years lost before age 75 per 100,000

South Carolina
Overall State Ranking - 44
down 2

Behaviors

42

Drug Deaths

23

14.5 per 100,000 population

Excessive Drinking

25

18.5 % of adults

Obesity

39

32.3 % of adults

Physical Inactivity

39

26.1% of adults

Smoking

39

20 % of adults

Community
& Environment

46

Air Pollution

25

7.8 micrograms per cubic meter

Children in Poverty

44

22.6 % of children

Infectious Disease

47

.793 mean z score

Occupational Fatalities

42

6.4 deaths per 100,000

Violent Crime

41

502 offenses per 100,000

Policy

44

Immunizations - Adolescents

49

-1.633 mean z score

Immunizations - Children

32

69.7 of children 19-35 months

Public Health Funding

32

$74 per person

Uninsured

39

10.5 % of population

Clinical
Care

46

Dentists

42

48.2 per 100,000

Low Birthweight

45

9.5 % of live births

Mental Health Providers

39

157.7 per 100,000

Preventable Hospitalizations

18

45.6 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees

Primary Care Physicians

36

127 per 100,000

Health
Outcomes

44

Cancer Deaths

37

201.3 per 100,000

Cardiovascular Deaths

36

277 per 100,000

Diabetes

45

13 % of adults

Infant Mortality

36

6.7 deaths per 1,000 live births

Premature Deaths

42

9,131 years lost before age 75 per 100,000

Tennessee
Overall State Ranking - 45
down 1

Behaviors

43

Drug Deaths

39

19.9 per 100,000 population

Excessive Drinking

6

14.4 % of adults

Obesity

45

34.8 % of adults

Physical Inactivity

40

28.4 % of adults

Smoking

43

22.1 % of adults

Community
& Environment

40

Air Pollution

32

8.2 micrograms per cubic meter

Children in Poverty

42

21.9 % of children

Infectious Disease

15

-.380 mean z score

Occupational Fatalities

33

5.1 deaths per 100,000

Violent Crime

47

633 offenses per 100,000

Policy

35

Immunizations - Adolescents

47

-.373 mean z score

Immunizations - Children

40

67.4 of children 19-35 months

Public Health Funding

23

$94 per person

Uninsured

34

9.7 % of population

Clinical
Care

45

Dentists

40

49.2 per 100,000

Low Birthweight

41

9.1 % of live births

Mental Health Providers

43

138.2 per 100,000

Preventable Hospitalizations

43

59.3 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees

Primary Care Physicians

27

138.5 per 100,000

Health
Outcomes

45

Cancer Deaths

44

216.5 per 100,000

Cardiovascular Deaths

45

308 per 100,000

Diabetes

44

12.7 % of adults

Infant Mortality

38

6.9 deaths per 1,000 live births

Premature Deaths

43

9,467 years lost before age 75 per 100,000

Texas
Overall State Ranking - 34
down 1

Behaviors

15

Drug Deaths

5

9.7 per 100,000 population

Excessive Drinking

32

19.4 % of adults

Obesity

43

33.6 % of adults

Physical Inactivity

34

25.2 % of adults

Smoking

10

14.3 % of adults

Community
& Environment

37

Air Pollution

39

8.9 micrograms per cubic meter

Children in Poverty

34

19.2 % of children

Infectious Disease

36

.277 mean z score

Occupational Fatalities

38

5.6 deaths per 100,000

Violent Crime

34

434 offenses per 100,000

Policy

50

Immunizations - Adolescents

39

-.493 mean z score

Immunizations - Children

33

69.5 of children 19-35 months

Public Health Funding

38

$67 per person

Uninsured

50

16.9 % of population

Clinical
Care

38

Dentists

30

52.3 per 100,000

Low Birthweight

28

8.2 % of live births

Mental Health Providers

49

98.3 per 100,000

Preventable Hospitalizations

34

53.2 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees

Primary Care Physicians

45

112.9 per 100,000

Health
Outcomes

34

Cancer Deaths

11

180.9 per 100,000

Cardiovascular Deaths

34

261.1 per 100,000

Diabetes

33

11.2 % of adults

Infant Mortality

23

5.8 deaths per 1,000 live births

Premature Deaths

23

7,175 years lost before age 75 per 100,000

Virginia
Overall State Ranking - 19
no change

Behaviors

8

Drug Deaths

7

11.3 per 100,000 population

Excessive Drinking

15

17.4 % of adults

Obesity

21

29 % of adults

Physical Inactivity

26

23.3 % of adults

Smoking

15

15.3 % of adults

Community
& Environment

6

Air Pollution

20

7.5 micrograms per cubic meter

Children in Poverty

11

13 % of children

Infectious Disease

13

-.443 mean z score

Occupational Fatalities

20

4.2 deaths per 100,000

Violent Crime

4

218 offenses per 100,000

Policy

39

Immunizations - Adolescents

40

-.590 mean z score

Immunizations - Children

45

65.9 of children 19-35 months

Public Health Funding

33

$73 per person

Uninsured

28

8.9 % of population

Clinical
Care

19

Dentists

14

63.6 per 100,000

Low Birthweight

22

7.9 % of live births

Mental Health Providers

40

145.2 per 100,000

Preventable Hospitalizations

15

42.8 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees

Primary Care Physicians

24

141.8 per 100,000

Health
Outcomes

19

Cancer Deaths

24

190.1 per 100,000

Cardiovascular Deaths

25

239.1 per 100,000

Diabetes

23

10.4 % of adults

Infant Mortality

23

5.8 deaths per 1,000 live births

Premature Deaths

19

6,696 years lost before age 75 per 100,000

West Virginia
Overall State Ranking - 46
down 3

Behaviors

48

Drug Deaths

50

35.3 per 100,000 population

Excessive Drinking

1

11.8 % of adults

Obesity

50

37.7 % of adults

Physical Inactivity

41

28.5 % of adults

Smoking

50

24.8 % of adults

Community
& Environment

36

Air Pollution

24

7.7 micrograms per cubic meter

Children in Poverty

48

27.3 % of children

Infectious Disease

1

-1.107 mean z score

Occupational Fatalities

46

7.7 deaths per 100,000

Violent Crime

24

358 offenses per 100,000

Policy

12

Immunizations - Adolescents

17

.283 mean z score

Immunizations - Children

47

64.7 of children 19-35 months

Public Health Funding

1

$296 per person

Uninsured

10

5.7 % of population

Clinical
Care

44

Dentists

44

47.9 per 100,000

Low Birthweight

45

9.5 % of live births

Mental Health Providers

48

112.7 per 100,000

Preventable Hospitalizations

49

75 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees

Primary Care Physicians

17

159.6 per 100,000

Health
Outcomes

46

Cancer Deaths

49

226.9 per 100,000

Cardiovascular Deaths

43

295.5 per 100,000

Diabetes

50

15 % of adults

Infant Mortality

41

7.1 deaths per 1,000 live births

Premature Deaths

49

10,478 years lost before age 75 per 100,000

(2017). Assets.americashealthrankings.org. Retrieved 27 December 2017, from https://assets.americashealthrankings.org/app/uploads/2017annualreport.pdf

Elizabeth Cohen, S. (2017). America's healthiest and least healthy statesCNN. Retrieved 27 December 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/12/health/2017-health-disparities-report/index.html

6 Questions to ask about Medical Malpractice Insurance

Make sure you have the best medical malpractice coverage available by asking these 6 medical malpractice questions.

Medical Malpractice: Consent

1. Do you have the consent to settle?

Does your malpractice policy allow you to decline settling and fight unjust claims in court to the very end?

If you have a “Consent to Settle Clause” in you policy, in order to settle a case, the insurance company must have your approval. If you reject this settlement, you reject it without further penalty.

For instance: if you purchase a policy with $1M limits and you lose at trial after declining to settle, your insurance company will still be required to pay up to a $1M verdict.

Malpractice Suits are very personal, and the Southern Medical Association wants you to have the ability to fight a claim to the very end.

Hammer Clause

2. Does your policy have a dreaded hammer clause?

Having a hammer clause in your malpractice policy can be problematic in the event of a claim.

A Hammer Clause in your policy may read like this:

“Insurer will not settle or compromise any claim without the consent of the insured. If, however, the insured refuses to consent to a settlement or compromise recommended by insurer and elects to contest such claim or continue legal proceedings in connection with such claim, then insurer’s liability for the claim shall not exceed the amount for which the claim could have been so settled, plus claims expenses incurred up to the date of such refusal.”

Avoid policies with these hammer clauses at all cost.

A ‘consent to settle’ policy that requires the insurance company to have your approval in order to settle a case is most desirable.

The SMA Service’s exclusive Medical Malpractice program does not have a hammer clause and the consent to settle lies with the physician. We’ve aggregated the over 4,000 Southern Medical Association members to provide you with the underwriting discounts and concessions to independent physicians that would normally be reserved for large hospital systems.

Medical Malpractice: Claims Made or Occurence

3. Is Claims-Made or Occurrence right for you?

Every malpractice insurance policy is going to contain a method, manner or time period in which a claim can be filed. The majority of insurance policies are written using the occurrence form but many others, especially professional liability policies are written on a claims-made form. These different forms have a major effect on your responsibility in the event of a claim, the actual cost of the policy and most importantly, how the company will respond to the claim:

Occurrence:

This policy covers claims made for injuries sustained during the life of the policy; even if the claim is filed after the policy has been canceled. An occurrence is an event that can result in the filing of an insurance claim.

Claims Made:

A claims-made policy provides coverage when a claim is made against the policy, regardless of when the claim event took place as long as the claim event took place after the ‘retroactive date’. If an insured elects to change insurance companies from one year to the next, it is important that the new carrier offer “retroactive” coverage back to the retroactive date to prevent any gaps in coverage.

While there are certainly pros and cons to both policies; in most cases, the claims made policy form is the most competitively priced option for the independent physicians.

Malpractice Triggers

4. What triggers a claim on your Malpractice Insurance Policy?

Medical Malpractice claims made policies are issued one of two ways; they will either have an incident trigger or a written demand trigger.

Incident Trigger:

If your malpractice coverage has an incident trigger, the moment you report a bad outcome to your carrier they become responsible for any future claims based on this incident.

Written Demand Triggers:

Under a written demand trigger, you may know of a bad outcome but a carrier will not accept responsibility of a claim until a written demand for money or a lawsuit has been made.

If affordable, an incident trigger form should always be considered.

Demand Trigger policies may force a physician practice with a known incident (however large or small) to remain with their current insurance company for years to avoid a gap in coverage. There is the potential that the carrier could significantly raise rates or adversely change coverage forms while awaiting a written demand or the Statue of Limitations to pass.

Medical Malpractice: Privacy Liability

5. Does your Malpractice Carrier provide coverage for privacy liability and regulatory violations?

Electronic record-keeping and digital communications are now used by most businesses. Too often businesses underestimate the risks of data security breach & regulatory violations.

It is important that you know if your general liability or malpractice insurance covers privacy and regulatory exposures. Unless you purchase standalone coverage, your policies most likely specifically exclude data and regulatory related risk.

Medical Malpractice: Tail Insurance

6. Can you avoid paying for “Tail Insurance” at retirement?

Have you budgeted for the cost of tail insurance when you retire?

Tail coverage can be extremely expensive. Depending on the carrier, the cost of your tail insurance could range from 150% to 250% of your final year’s premium. This is a sizable amount for any physician but can be especially expensive for high risk specialties. Many standard malpractice carriers have free retirement tail provisions after the age of 55 and after 5 consecutive years of coverage. If you retirement is around the corner, this provision may be prohibiting you from looking at more affordable malpractice options.

SMA's Medical Malpractice Insurance Program

The Southern Medical Association has created a highly discounted medical malpractice insurance program for SMA Members that’s available to physician practices of all sizes and specialties. A few minutes of your time could save you up to 50% off your current rates. Call 844.8EASYWIN today or click the Easy Win button below to find out more...

Easy Win Malpractice Banner

Email easywin@sma.org to have our representative review your current policy.

SMA Partner LendKey Explains Student Loan Options for Medical Professionals

Our partners at LendKey have put together an informative, step-by-step plan to help you save money and pay off your student loans.  The student loans webinar recording is about 30 minutes and will teach you:

  • Where to find the details on all your student loans
  • How to organize your student debt
  • Federal repayment plan options
  • The difference between consolidation and refinancing
  • How to refinance your student loans
  • How much you can save by refinancing

Medical professionals stand to save an average of over $35,000 by refinancing their student loans and LendKey lets you compare refinancing options from over 300 not-for-profit lenders.

Check your rate and find out how much you can save by refinancing.

 CLICK HERE, It's fast and easy.

LendKey - Student Loan Refinancing
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