DOCTOR SEEKS INJUNCTION TO KEEP MALPRACTICE COVERAGE
By Jimmie E. Gates
December 17, 2004
(CANTON, MISSISSIPPI) - A Belzoni physician known for treating the poor says he has never
had a malpractice claim filed against him, but he was in court Thursday
trying to keep his medical malpractice insurance from being canceled Jan. 1.
Dr. Ronald V. Myers Sr. had sought a preliminary injunction against Medical
Assurance Company of Mississippi in Holmes County Chancery Court.
MACM, the nonprofit insurance arm of the Mississippi Medical Association,
informed Myers by letter Sept. 13 that his policy wouldn't be renewed.
One of the key reasons MACM cited in not renewing Myers' insurance is the
physician recently took over a pain clinic in Tupelo.
"He has no pain clinic training; no board certification in pain management,"
MACM attorney Walter Johnson said Thursday. "What Dr. Myers is trying to do
is to force this company to take $3 million in risk. ... He can get
After arguments Thursday in Canton, Chancery Judge Janace Harvey-Goree said
the case was a contract dispute that should be settled in Madison County
Circuit Court. MACM has an office in Madison County.
Myers said after the hearing that there is no way to get the case heard
before Jan. 1 in Circuit Court because of the holidays and other scheduling
At stake is whether Myers will have insurance to keep his clinics open in
Belzoni, Tchula, Greenwood and Indianola. He has about 3,000 patients being
served by the clinics.
Myers said he paid $8,000 a year for coverage at his four clinics, but
received one quote for $40,000 a year and another for $16,000 to insure the
2,000-patient Tchula clinic. He said the other clinics would require similar
"I can't afford it," Myers said of obtaining insurance through a regular
private insurance company. "My practice is a Christian ministry. Many of my
patients are the poorest of the poor."
Myers said he treats patients regardless of whether they can pay.
MACM attorney Walter Johnson argued in court the insurance company has no
legal obligation to renew a policy.
MACM, created by legislation in 1976, provides coverage to 60 percent of the
physicians in the state.
Myers said he didn't take over a pain clinic in Tupelo. He said he opened
his own Christian health center in Tupelo after the pain clinic physician
lost his license to practice medicine.
"I was trying to help people who didn't have anyone to treat them," Myers
said. "I never claimed to be a pain specialist.
Carey Jones, a patient of Myers who was prepared to testify on the
physician's behalf, said losing Myers' clinics would leave a major void in
the community's access to health care.
"A lot of people wouldn't know what to do if they didn't have Dr. Myers to
go to," Jones said.