The commissioner, after approval by the board of governors, shall by rule set the fees under par. (a)
. The rule shall provide that fees may be paid annually or in semiannual or quarterly installments. In addition to the prorated portion of the annual fee, semiannual and quarterly installments shall include an amount sufficient to cover interest not earned and administrative costs incurred because the fees were not paid on an annual basis. This paragraph does not impose liability on the board of governors for payment of any part of a fund deficit.
With respect to fees paid by physicians, the rule shall provide for not more than 4 payment classifications, based upon the amount of surgery performed and the risk of diagnostic and therapeutic services provided or procedures performed.
In addition to the fees and payment classifications described under subds. 1.
, the commissioner, after approval by the board of governors, may by rule establish a separate payment classification for physicians satisfying s. 655.002 (1) (b)
and a separate fee for nurse anesthetists satisfying s. 655.002 (1) (b)
which take into account the loss experience of health care providers for whom Michigan is a principal place of practice.
Every rule under par. (b)
shall provide for an automatic increase in a health care provider's fees, except as provided in subd. 2.
, if the loss and expense experience of the fund and other sources with respect to the health care provider or an employee of the health care provider exceeds either a number of claims paid threshold or a dollar volume of claims paid threshold, both as established in the rule. The rule shall specify applicable amounts of increase corresponding to the number of claims paid and the dollar volume of awards in excess of the respective thresholds.
The rule shall provide that the automatic increase does not apply if the board of governors determines that the performance of the injured patients and families compensation fund peer review council in making recommendations under s. 655.275 (5) (a)
adequately addresses the consideration set forth in par. (a) 2m.
Limit on fees.
Every rule setting fees for a particular fiscal year under par. (b)
shall ensure that the fees assessed do not exceed the greatest of the following:
The estimated total dollar amount of claims to be paid during that particular fiscal year.
The fees assessed for the fiscal year preceding that particular fiscal year, adjusted by the commissioner of insurance to reflect changes in the consumer price index for all urban consumers, U.S. city average, for the medical care group, as determined by the U.S. department of labor.
Two hundred percent of the total dollar amount disbursed for claims during the calendar year preceding that particular fiscal year.
Collection and deposit of fees.
Fees under pars. (a)
and future medical expense payments specified for the fund under s. 655.015
shall be collected by the commissioner for deposit into the fund in a manner prescribed by the commissioner by rule.
Rule not effective; fees.
If the rule establishing fees under par. (b)
does not take effect prior to June 2 of any fiscal year, the commissioner may elect to collect fees as established for the previous fiscal year. If the commissioner so elects and the rule subsequently takes effect, the balance for the fiscal year shall be collected or refunded or the remaining semiannual or quarterly installment payments shall be adjusted except the commissioner may elect not to collect, refund or adjust for minimal amounts.
The commissioner, after approval by the board of governors, may by rule assess fees against podiatrists for the purpose of paying the fund's portion of medical malpractice claims and expenses resulting from claims against podiatrists based on occurrences before July 1, 1986.
Moneys shall be withdrawn from the fund, or paid from the appropriation under s. 20.145 (2) (a)
, by the commissioner only upon vouchers approved and authorized by the board of governors.
All books, records and audits of the fund shall be open to the general public for reasonable inspection, with the exception of confidential claims information.
Persons authorized to receive deposits, withdraw, issue vouchers or otherwise disburse any fund moneys shall post a blanket fidelity bond in an amount reasonably sufficient to protect fund assets. The cost of such bond shall be paid from the fund.
Annually after the close of a fiscal year, the board of governors shall furnish a financial report to the commissioner. The report shall be prepared in accordance with accepted accounting procedures and shall include the present value of all claims reserves, including those for incurred but not reported claims as determined by accepted actuarial principles, and such other information as may be required by the commissioner. The board of governors shall furnish an appropriate summary of this report to all fund participants.
The board of governors shall submit a quarterly report to the state investment board and the department of administration projecting the future cash flow needs of the fund. The state investment board shall invest moneys held in the fund in investments with maturities and liquidity that are appropriate for the needs of the fund as reported by the board of governors in its quarterly reports under this paragraph. All income derived from such investments shall be credited to the fund.
The board of governors shall submit a functional and progress report to the chief clerk of each house of the legislature, for distribution to the appropriate standing committees under s. 13.172 (3)
, on or before March 1 of each year.
The board of governors may cede reinsurance to an insurer authorized to do business in this state under ch. 611
or pursue other loss funding management to preserve the solvency and integrity of the fund, subject to approval by the commissioner. The commissioner may prescribe controls over or other conditions on such use of reinsurance or other loss-funding management mechanisms.
Any person may file a claim for damages arising out of the rendering of medical care or services or participation in peer review activities under s. 146.37
within this state against a health care provider or an employee of a health care provider. A person filing a claim may recover from the fund only if the health care provider or the employee of the health care provider has coverage under the fund, the fund is named as a party in the action, and the action against the fund is commenced within the same time limitation within which the action against the health care provider or employee of the health care provider must be commenced.
Any person may file an action for damages arising out of the rendering of medical care or services or participation in peer review activities under s. 146.37
outside this state against a health care provider or an employee of a health care provider. A person filing an action may recover from the fund only if the health care provider or the employee of the health care provider has coverage under the fund, the fund is named as a party in the action, and the action against the fund is commenced within the same time limitation within which the action against the health care provider or employee of the health care provider must be commenced. If the rules of procedure of the jurisdiction in which the action is brought do not permit naming the fund as a party, the person filing the action may recover from the fund only if the health care provider or the employee of the health care provider has coverage under the fund and the fund is notified of the action within 60 days of service of process on the health care provider or the employee of the health care provider. The board of governors may extend this time limit if it finds that enforcement of the time limit would be prejudicial to the purposes of the fund and would benefit neither insureds nor claimants.
If, after reviewing the facts upon which the claim or action is based, it appears reasonably probable that damages paid will exceed the limits in s. 655.23 (4)
, the fund may appear and actively defend itself when named as a party in an action against a health care provider, or an employee of a health care provider, that has coverage under the fund. In such action, the fund may retain counsel and pay out of the fund attorney fees and expenses including court costs incurred in defending the fund. The attorney or law firm retained to defend the fund shall not be retained or employed by the board of governors to perform legal services for the board of governors other than those directly connected with the fund. Any judgment affecting the fund may be appealed as provided by law. The fund may not be required to file any undertaking in any judicial action, proceeding or appeal.
It shall be the responsibility of the insurer or self-insurer providing insurance or self-insurance for a health care provider who is also covered by the fund to provide an adequate defense of the fund on any claim filed that may potentially affect the fund with respect to such insurance contract or self-insurance contract. The insurer or self-insurer shall act in good faith and in a fiduciary relationship with respect to any claim affecting the fund. No settlement exceeding an amount which could require payment by the fund may be agreed to unless approved by the board of governors.
It shall be the responsibility of any health care provider with a cash or surety bond in effect under s. 655.23 (3) (d)
to provide an adequate defense of the fund on any malpractice claim filed or any claim filed under sub. (1m)
that may potentially affect the fund. The health care provider shall act in good faith and in a fiduciary relationship with respect to any claim affecting the fund. No settlement exceeding an amount which could require payment by the fund may be agreed to unless approved by the board of governors.
A person who has recovered a final judgment or a settlement approved by the board of governors against a health care provider, or an employee of a health care provider, that has coverage under the fund may file a claim with the board of governors to recover that portion of such judgment or settlement which is in excess of the limits in s. 655.23 (4)
or the maximum liability limit for which the health care provider is insured, whichever limit is greater. In the event the fund incurs liability for future payments exceeding $1,000,000 to any person under a single claim as the result of a settlement or judgment that is entered into or rendered under this chapter for an act or omission that occurred on or after May 25, 1995, the fund shall pay, after deducting the reasonable costs of collection attributable to the remaining liability, including attorney fees reduced to present value, the full medical expenses each year, plus an amount not to exceed $500,000 per year that will pay the remaining liability over the person's anticipated lifetime, or until the liability is paid in full. If the remaining liability is not paid before the person dies, the fund may pay the remaining liability in a lump sum. Payments shall be made from money collected and paid into the fund under sub. (3)
and from interest earned thereon. For claims subject to a periodic payment made under this paragraph, payments shall be made until the claim has been paid in full, except as provided in s. 655.015
. Periodic payments made under this paragraph include direct or indirect payment or commitment of moneys to or on behalf of any person under a single claim by any funding mechanism. No interest may be paid by the fund on the unpaid portion of any claim filed under this paragraph, except as provided under s. 807.01 (4)
, 814.04 (4)
or 815.05 (8)
Claims filed against the fund shall be paid in the order received within 90 days after filing unless appealed by the fund. If the amounts in the fund are not sufficient to pay all of the claims, claims received after the funds are exhausted shall be paid from the appropriation under s. 20.145 (2) (a)
(6) Purpose and integrity of fund.
The fund is established to curb the rising costs of health care by financing part of the liability incurred by health care providers as a result of medical malpractice claims and to ensure that proper claims are satisfied. The fund, including any net worth of the fund, is held in irrevocable trust for the sole benefit of health care providers participating in the fund and proper claimants. Moneys in the fund may not be used for any other purpose of the state.
(7) Actions against insurers, self-insurers or providers.
The board of governors may bring an action against an insurer, self-insurer or health care provider for failure to act in good faith or breach of fiduciary responsibility under sub. (5) (b)
History: 1975 c. 37
; 1977 c. 29
; 1979 c. 34
; 1981 c. 20
; 1983 a. 27
; 1985 a. 340
; 1987 a. 27
; 1989 a. 102
; 1991 a. 214
; 1993 a. 473
; 1995 a. 10
; 2001 a. 65
; 2003 a. 111
; 2005 a. 36
; 2007 a. 20
The patients compensation fund has the authority to sue an insurer that refuses to contribute to the settlement of a claim against its insured. Wisconsin Patients Compensation Fund v. WHCLIP, 200 Wis. 2d 599
, 547 N.W.2d 578
The denial of a postverdict motion to add the fund to an action where an excess verdict was returned was appropriate. Granting the motion would have denied the fund's right under sub. (5) to appear and actively defend itself in the action. Goff v. Seldera, 202 Wis. 2d 601
, 550 N.W.2d 144
(Ct. App. 1996), 95-0135
Sub. (4) (b) does not provide an "explicit and unequivocal" exemption to the open records law. Any denial of an open records request under this section must state with "sufficient specificity" a public policy reason for refusing to release the requested records. Chavala v. Bubolz, 204 Wis. 2d 82
, 552 N.W.2d 892
(Ct. App. 1996), 95-3120
When a hospital's violation of the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act for failure to provide treatment results from a negligent medical act or a decision made in rendering care, the Fund has an obligation to provide excess coverage. When the hospital's violation results from an economic decision, the fund has no duty to provide coverage. Burks v. St. Joseph Hospital, 227 Wis. 2d 811
, 596 N.W.2d 391
A medical malpractice plaintiff is required to name the fund as a party but may do so after the period prescribed in s. 893.55 has passed so long as the health care providers are sued before the statute of limitations has run. Anderson v. Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital, 2000 WI App 108
, 235 Wis. 2d 249
, 612 N.W.2d 369
The requirement in sub. (5) (b) that the primary insurer provide the fund an adequate defense does not require that the insurer's attorneys must assume an attorney-client relationship with the fund. Patients Compensation Fund v. Physicians Insurance Co. of Wisconsin, 2000 WI App 248
, 239 Wis. 2d 360
, 620 N.W.2d 457
Under s. 895.045 (1), the liability of each person found to be less than 51% causally negligent is limited to the percentage of the total causal negligence attributed to that person. Thus insurers of doctor's less than 51% causally negligent can be liable for no more than their insureds. Estate of Capistrant v. Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital, Inc. 2003 WI App 213
, 267 Wis. 2d 455
, 671 N.W.2d 400
Health care providers have a constitutionally protected property interest in the fund. Sub. (6) defines the fund as an irrevocable trust, and the structure and purpose of the fund satisfy all the elements necessary to establish a formal trust. Because the health care providers are specifically named as beneficiaries of the trust, they have equitable title to the assets of the fund. The transfer of $200 million from the fund to another fund was an unconstitutional taking of private property without just compensation. Wisconsin Medical Society v. Morgan, 2010 WI 94
, 328 Wis. 2d 469
; 787 N.W.2d 22
Injured patients and families compensation fund peer review council. 655.275(1)
In this section, "council" means the injured patients and families compensation fund peer review council.
The board of governors shall appoint the members of the council. Section 15.09
, except s. 15.09 (4)
, does not apply to the council. The board of governors shall designate the chairperson, vice chairperson and secretary of the council and the terms to be served by council members. The council shall consist of 5 persons, not more than 3 of whom are physicians who are actively engaged in the practice of medicine in this state. The chairperson shall be a physician and shall serve as an ex officio nonvoting member of the medical examining board.
The council shall meet at the call of the chairperson of the board of governors or the chairperson of the council. The council shall meet at the location determined by the person calling the meeting.
The council shall submit to the chairperson of the board of governors, upon request of the chairperson but not more often than annually, a report on the operation of the council.
The council shall review, within one year of the date of first payment on the claim, each claim that is paid by the fund or from the appropriation under s. 20.145 (2) (a)
, by a mandatory health care liability risk-sharing plan established under s. 619.04
, by a private health care liability insurer, or by a self-insurer for damages arising out of the rendering of medical care by a health care provider or an employee of the health care provider and shall make recommendations to all of the following:
The commissioner and the board of governors regarding any adjustments to be made, under s. 655.27 (3) (a) 2m.
, to fund fees assessed against the health care provider, based on the paid claim.
The commissioner and the board of governors regarding any adjustments to be made, under s. 619.04 (5) (b)
, to premiums assessed against a physician under a mandatory health care liability risk-sharing plan established under s. 619.04
, based on the paid claim.
A private health care liability insurer regarding adjustments to premiums assessed against a physician covered by private insurance, based on the paid claim, if requested by the private insurer.
In developing recommendations under par. (a)
, the council may consult with any person and shall consult with the following:
If a claim was paid for damages arising out of the rendering of care by a physician, with at least one physician from the area of medical specialty of the physician who rendered the care and with at least one physician from the area of medical specialty of the medical procedure involved, if the specialty area of the procedure is different than the specialty area of the physician who rendered the care.
If a claim was paid for damages arising out of the rendering of care by a nurse anesthetist, with at least one nurse anesthetist.
Fees sufficient to cover the council's costs, including costs of administration, shall be collected under s. 655.27 (3) (am)
(7) Notice of recommendation.
The council shall notify the affected health care provider, in writing, of its recommendations to the commissioner, the board of governors or a private insurer made under sub. (5)
. The notice shall inform the health care provider that the health care provider may submit written comments on the council's recommendations to the commissioner, the board of governors or the private insurer within a reasonable period of time specified in the notice.
(8) Patient records.
The council may obtain any information relating to any claim it reviews under this section that is in the possession of the commissioner or the board of governors. The council shall keep patient health care records confidential as required by s. 146.82
Members of the council and persons consulting with the council under sub. (5) (b)
are immune from civil liability for acts or omissions while performing their duties under this section.
(10) Members' and consultants' expenses.
Notwithstanding s. 15.09 (6)
, any person serving on the council and any person consulting with the council under sub. (5) (b)
shall be paid at a rate established by the commissioner by rule.
See also s. Ins 17.285
, Wis. adm. code.
Establishment of mediation system. 655.42(1)
The legislature intends that the mediation system provide the persons under sub. (2)
with an informal, inexpensive and expedient means for resolving disputes without litigation and intends that the director of state courts administer the mediation system accordingly.
(2) Mediation system.
The director of state courts shall establish a mediation system complying with this subchapter not later than September 1, 1986. The mediation system shall consist of mediation panels that assist in the resolution of disputes, regarding medical malpractice, between patients, their representatives, spouses, parents or children and health care providers.
History: 1985 a. 340
; 1989 a. 187
The claimant and all respondents named in a request for mediation filed under s. 655.44
shall participate in mediation under this subchapter.
History: 1985 a. 340
Request for mediation prior to court action. 655.44(1)(1)
Request and fee.
Beginning September 1, 1986, any person listed in s. 655.007
having a claim or a derivative claim under this chapter for bodily injury or death because of a tort or breach of contract based on professional services rendered or that should have been rendered by a health care provider may file a request for mediation and shall pay the fee under s. 655.54
(2) Content of request.
The request for mediation shall be in writing and shall include all of the following information:
The claimant's name and city, village or town, county and state of residence.
The name and address of the health care provider alleged to have been negligent in treating the patient.
The condition or disease for which the health care provider was treating the patient when the alleged negligence occurred and the dates of treatment.
A brief description of the injury alleged to have been caused by the health care provider's negligence.
(3) Delivery or registered mail.
The request for mediation shall be delivered in person or sent by registered mail to the director of state courts.
(4) Statute of limitations.
Any applicable statute of limitations is tolled on the date the director of state courts receives the request for mediation if delivered in person or on the date of mailing if sent by registered mail. The statute remains tolled until 30 days after the last day of the mediation period under s. 655.465 (7)
(5) No court action commenced before mediation.
Except as provided in s. 655.445
, no court action may be commenced unless a request for mediation has been filed under this section and until the expiration of the mediation period under s. 655.465 (7)
(6) Notice of court action to director of state courts.
A claimant who files a request for mediation under this section and who commences a court action after the expiration of the mediation period under s. 655.465 (7)
shall send notice of the court action by 1st class mail to the director of state courts.
History: 1985 a. 340
; 1989 a. 187
A request for mediation of a claim naming only one doctor did not toll the statute of limitations applicable to claims against doctors not named in the mediation request. Dipple v. Wisconsin Patients Compensation Fund, 161 Wis. 2d 854
, 468 N.W.2d 789
(Ct. App. 1991).
When a care provider was deceased, it was sufficient to name the deceased provider in the mediation request rather than a legal entity, such as the estate or the provider's insurer. In that case, the tolling of the statute of limitations under sub. (4) is effective against an insurer and the Wisconsin Patients Compensation Fund. Failure to name the fund as a party to an action brought against the insurer within the 30-day period under sub. (4) barred the claim against the fund. Geiger v. Wisconsin Health Care Liability Insurance Plan, 196 Wis. 2d 474
, 538 N.W.2d 830
(Ct. App. 1995), 95-0692
The limitation periods under s. 893.55 (1) (a) and (b) are both tolled by the filing of a request for mediation under sub. (4). Landis v. Physicians Insurance Company of Wis. Inc., 2001 WI 86
, 245 Wis. 2d 1
, 628 N.W.2d 893
Sub. (5) does not mandate dismissal for filing an action before the expiration of the statutory mediation period. When a plaintiff fails to comply with sub. (5), the circuit court retains discretion to determine the appropriate sanction. Ocasio v. Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital, 2002 WI 89
, 254 Wis. 2d 367
, 646 N.W.2d 381
Nothing in the language of either s. 655.44 or 655.445 precluded the application of of s. 655.44 to a mediation request filed under s. 655.445 when an action was filed but became a nullity due to failure to complete service. Young v. Aurora Medical Center, 2004 WI App 71
, 272 Wis. 2d 300
, 679 N.W.2d 549