LIPINSKI PROPOSES COMPROMISE TO MEDICAL MALPRACTICE REFORM07/22/2005
REP. DAN LIPINSKI PROPOSES COMPREHENSIVE, COMMON SENSE COMPROMISE
TO MEDICAL MALPRACTICE REFORM
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL03) today joined Brian Baird (WA03), James Moran (VA08), and C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger (MD02) in introducing a comprehensive, common sense compromise to medical malpractice reform.
HR 3378 will: constrain medical liability insurance costs that have forced many quality doctors to abandon medicine; curb meritless lawsuits that drive insurance and health care costs up; protect the rights of patients with legitimate malpractice claims; and improve the overall quality of health care by implementing improved measures for medical error reporting.
"Unfortunately, medical malpractice lawsuits tend to be a legal game between powerful special interests rather than a mechanism for average citizens to seek and receive just compensation for real pain and suffering," Rep. Lipinski said. "Our bill ensures that victims of malpractice can obtain justice without undermining the world's best health care system."
The comprehensive medical malpractice reform bill includes these key provisions:
-Setting reasonable, inflation-adjusted limits on non-economic malpractice damages;
-Excluding medical devices and pharmaceuticals from the cap on non-economic damages;
-Providing mediation alternatives to litigation;
-Penalizing meritless lawsuits and the repeated filing of unfounded litigation
-Improving state medical boards and establishing best practice standards
-Offering legal protections for the good faith reporting, investigation, and enforcement of medical errors;
-Establishing voluntary, confidential reporting procedures for medical personnel, like those used by the FAA;
-Requiring the medical liability industry to justify rate increases and pass savings along to consumers;
-Providing liability protection for practitioners and institutions mandated to treat indigent patients.
"It is time for a practical solution to medical malpractice," said Congressman Lipinski. "This legislation provides solid protections for patients and competent, caring physicians, such as establishing national guidelines for State Medical Disciplinary Boards and promoting mediation programs that will expedite compensation to victims and allow doctors to offer a sincere apology without fear that it could be used against them in court.
"In Illinois we particularly understand the need for medical malpractice reform with many communities having experienced a significant the loss of physicians, especially those in the OB/GYN and neurosurgery specialties. This bill provides the vehicle for a comprehensive solution for the entire nation. It will improve the availability, cost, and quality of health care for all Americans."
The bill has been referred to House Energy and Commerce and Judiciary Committees.
(July 22, 2005)