Tennessee Legislators Looking Ahead to Preserve Access to Care

Having passed comprehensive medical liability reform in 2011 and cognizant of the improvements in access to care achieved since then, Tennessee physicians are taking additional steps to protect patients by proposing changes to the state constitution to ensure the law is kept in place.

In an effort led by the Tennessee Medical Association, voters would have the chance to weigh in on new state constitutional language clarifying that Tennessee’s General Assembly is authorized to set reasonable limits on non-economic damages in medical liability cases.

Before passage, the proposal would require approval by the current Assembly members and a two-thirds majority in the following session.

“The General Assembly needs to act now to prevent us from going backwards on the issue of a non-economic damages cap,” Dr. John Hale, president of the Tennessee Medical Association said in a recent statement. “The cap fosters growth in Tennessee’s health care industry by cutting back on frivolous lawsuits and the costs that come with them.”

Since 2011, comprehensive medical liability reform has reduced lawsuits by 40 percent across the state, ensuring that meritless lawsuits don’t get in the way of patients with legitimate claims.

While some advocacy efforts are focused on “alternative reforms,” standing up to the test of time and practice is comprehensive medical liability reform that places reasonable limits on non-economic damages in a way that doesn’t leave physicians second-guessing if they will be repealed.

To read more about how Tennessee lawmakers and physicians are taking a proactive approach to strengthening access to care, click here.

Florida Attorney General Supports Liability Reform, Amid Uncertainty for Patients

With a case pending before the State Supreme Court that could further erode patient access to care, Florida’s Attorney General has stepped up to support comprehensive liability reform.

Filing an amicus brief with the Florida Supreme Court, Attorney General Pam Bondi hopes to provide further evidence of the success that reasonable limits on non-economic damages have had on keeping health care services open and affordable.

“… A non-economic damages cap is a critical, necessary method of addressing a medical malpractice crisis that was undermining the Legislature’s goal of making high-quality health care accessible,” Attorney General Bondi wrote in her brief.

The rise of the case to the State Supreme Court comes after an appeals court ruled this summer against limits on non-economic damages. The Florida Hospital Association and the Florida Justice Reform Institute have filed similar briefs, seeking to overturn the appeals court ruling.

To read more about the Florida Attorney General’s support for protecting patients and access to care, click here.

May Your Holiday Season Be Happy and Healthy

As we reflect on the year behind us, and look with optimism on the year ahead, Protect Patients Now wishes you and your family peace and joy, and a happy and healthy New Year.

We look forward to the legislative activity and elections in 2016, and will work to usher in real and meaningful changes to a liability system that only serves the best interests of personal injury lawyers. Our priorities remain focused on comprehensive reforms at the federal level that reduce costs for patients and taxpayers and increase access to care.

We thank you for your continued support and look forward to working with you in the year ahead to Protect Patients Now.