SENATE BILL NO. 269
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 18 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO INSURANCE FOR MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE :
WHEREAS, a shortage of surgeons currently exists at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Elsmere, which is resulting in Delaware veterans being referred to Maryland and Pennsylvania VA facilities for some surgical procedures; and
WHEREAS, the hospital is also suffering from a shortage of other physicians whose services are necessary to the successful performance of surgeries, such as anesthesiologists; and
WHEREAS, a primary reason for this shortage is a clause in the medical malpractice insurance contracts of retired doctors that causes them to lose their “tail coverage” for past acts of medical malpractice if they come out of retirement to work as surgeons at the VA Hospital;
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend Title 18, Section 6801 of the Delaware Code by adding a new subsection (10) that shall read:
“(10) ‘Tail coverage’ means insurance coverage, under a claims-made medical negligence insurance policy, for an alleged act of medical malpractice that occurred during the effective period of the policy but for which a claim was not made until after the policy was no longer in effect.”
Section 2. Amend Title 18, Chapter 68 of the Delaware Code by adding a new Section 6858, which shall read as follows:
“§ 6858. Tail Coverage for VA Hospital Surgeons.
No insurance policy sold or delivered in this state providing insurance for acts of medical negligence or malpractice shall revoke the tail coverage of a retired physician as a consequence of that physician ending his retirement for the specific and sole purpose of practicing medicine at a Veterans Administration facility in the State of Delaware. Any contract language inconsistent with this section is void under Delaware law.”
Section 3. This Act shall have retroactive effect and shall apply to insurance policies already executed.
Approved August 1, 2008