Two rounds of malpractice reform by the legislature, in 2001 and 2003, have had a favorable effect, reports the Huntington Herald-Dispatch. The number of newly filed suits has dropped sharply; insurers are paying out only $1.06 for every dollar of premiums collected, as opposed to $1.82 in 1999. "The number of new permanent licenses issued by the West Virginia Board of Medicine, which dropped from 433 to 305 between 1997 and 2000, has increased since then. It rose from 305 to 377 between 2000 and 2004." Even real estate markets have benefited in Huntington, a regional medical hub, according to a local realtor.
Democratic State Sen. Evan Jenkins, who is also executive director of the West Virginia State Medical Association, said he thinks a 2001 enactment requiring plaintiff's lawyers to obtain a certificate of merit before proceeding "has had a significant impact on making sure that suits filed have merit". The 2003 round of reforms abolished joint liability, implemented a collateral-source offset, and put a cap of $250K on pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages.