Gov. Rick Scott has signed the Florida Medical Association’s priority medical liability reform legislation, transforming the state’s medical practice environment by requiring fairness in the use of expert witnesses.
SB 1792, sponsored by Sen. Tom Lee and Rep. Matt Gaetz, requires medical expert witnesses to be in the same specialty as defendant physicians, ensures physicians’ constitutional right to counsel, and gives parties equal access to medical fact witnesses.
“The FMA is grateful to the Governor for making these critical, pro-medicine reforms the law of the land,” FMA President Vincent DeGennaro, M.D., said on behalf of the FMA’s 20,000 members. “The signing of SB 1792 represents many years of effort by the FMA to bring more fairness to Florida’s tort system.”
These changes are particularly meaningful considering Florida’s current medical liability environment which is among the most costly in the nation. Liability concerns are cited as the number one reason by physicians for choosing to retire before retirement age, leave high-risk and high-need specialties, or leave the state to practice elsewhere.
These historic tort system reforms will benefit patients as well.
“Making Florida a more welcoming place for physicians to practice medicine is essential to increasing Floridians’ access to medical care, and that’s precisely what the new law will do,” said FMA Executive Vice President Tim Stapleton. “We thank the Governor for his signature and are grateful for the leadership of bill sponsors Rep. Matt Gaetz and Sen. Tom Lee, as well as Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford, which made this possible.”