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Ohio Valley, West Virginia

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Mike Simon
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State Birth Injury Program In Jeopardy

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According to a study released last quarter, the Virginia state birth injury program, designed to bar medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors and hospitals when a child receives permanent birth injuries from oxygen damage or spinal damage, faces a cash shortage of $132 million and, at its present state, can survive only 17 more years.

“There are no real surprises,” the program’s executive director, George Deebo, told board members Thursday as he handed out copies of the projections produced for the State Corporation Commission by Mercer Consulting Inc. in New York.

The report stresses that the Virginia Birth-related Neurological Injury Compensation Program has sufficient assets to last many more years, but it concludes that it will fail without increased funding or significant reductions in benefits.

The program has a little over $147 million in assets but needs approximately $280 million to cover the care of the 100 children already in the program and those expected to qualify.