Enacted in 1987, the Virginia Birth-Injury Program was a direct response to the difficulty that obstetricians were having obtaining medical malpractice insurance. The Virginia Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Act, codified at Va. Code Section 38.2-5000, is meant to make sure that affordable malpractice insurance is available to those who deliver babies. More affordable insurance has led to more available health care for Virginia residents.
Since its formation, more than 150 claimants have been admitted into the Birth-Injury Program. The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission has jurisdiction over claims brought under the program, and about two-thirds of those individuals who have filed petitions to enter have been admitted. It has the sole authority to determine whether a claim satisfies the procedural and substantive requirements of the Virginia Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Act. If the Commission decides that a cause of action satisfies the Virginia Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Act’s requirements, then the Act provides the exclusive remedy for all claimants.
The Birth-Injury Program is funded through participating physician fees, participating hospital fees, liability insurer assessments, and non-participating physician assessments. Its reserve fund has more than $200 million, making the Birth-Injury Program financially sound.