Legislators are still wrangling over how to solve West Virginia's medical malpractice problems, but they hope to wrap up their work this weekend.

The Senate Finance Committee was expected to sign off today on a plan negotiated by a House and Senate conference committee. Instead, the Finance Committee spent nearly three hours tinkering with the wording to address some concerns and new ideas. Senate leaders say they expect the committee to pass the plan tomorrow morning, followed by full Senate approval later in the day. The House plans to take up the legislation Saturday.

The legislation includes three alternative insurance programs to make sure doctors have coverage. It also places restrictions on some malpractice lawsuits and establishes regulations to speed up lawsuits that make it to court. The alternative insurance programs are:

A limited state-run program.
A mutual company run and paid for by doctors.
An assigned risk pool that forces casualty insurers to cover high-risk doctors.

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