Deficit Reduction Committee Urged to Include Meaningful Medical Liability Reforms

State and national physician organizations, including the NCMS, have urged the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to include meaningful medical liability reforms in its final legislative package. The call came in a letter sent October 3, 2011, to Co-Chairs Senator Patty Murry (D-WA) and Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).

The organizations say reforms will save taxpayers billions of dollars while protecting access to care. Cited in the letter is a Congressional Budget Office estimate, that when implementing comprehensive medical liability reforms, the federal deficit would be reduced by $62.4 billion over ten years. Also cited is the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform recommendation that medical liability reform be part of a solution to reduce the federal budget deficit.

Among the reforms sought are:

  • A 250,000 cap on non-economic damages;
  • Collateral source rule reform by allowing evidence of outside payments to be submitted in court and a ban on subrogation by certain collateral sources;
  • Language from H.R. 816, the “Provider Shield Act of 2011,” that would prohibit new causes of action against physicians and other health care providers based on standards or guidelines specified in the Affordable Care Act (ACA);
  • Liability protections for physicians and other health care providers so that evidence of nonpayment or payment adjustments based on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) policies would be inadmissible as evidence in a liability claim or lawsuit to prove liability or establish a presumption of liability on behalf of a physician or health care provider;
  • Liability protections for physicians and other health care providers who provide emergency care or volunteer to treat victims of a disaster by requiring clear and convincing burden of proof; and
  • Reforms to require an individual who serves as an expert witness in a liability case to meet standards of expertise and knowledge.

Click here to read a copy of the letter.

 
 

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