Update on Federal Legislation
Anne Bryant, Senior Director of Government Relations
Physicians Insurance actively engages in the federal effort to enact effective reforms and protect health care providers from new causes of action.
We sit on the board of the Health Coalition on Liability and Access and serve as vice chair of its legislative committee. We also serve as the vice chair of the Physician Insurers Association of America Legislative Oversight Committee.
Two pieces of proposed federal legislation are particularly relevant today.
H.R. 5: Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-Cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011
This is sponsored by Rep. John Gingrey (GA), introduced 1/24/2011, with 127 cosponsors to date.
The HEALTH ACT is modeled after the effective reforms enacted under California’s MICRA. As demonstrated in California and other states such as Texas, true reforms help provide for a stable medical professional liability market, increased access to care, and faster compensation to those who have been injured. Specifically, HR 5 contains the following elements:
- A $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages,
- A fee schedule for attorney contingency fees to ensure victims of negligence received the funds they need,
- Periodic payments of future damages, and
- A reasonable statute of limitations.
Efforts continue to move this bill through Congress and to include collateral source reform, which would allow evidence that claimed damages have been compensated from another source.
H.R. 816: Provider Shield Act of 2011
This is sponsored by Rep. John Gingrey (GA), introduced 2/18/2011, with 12 cosponsors to date.
There are several provisions included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that may have inadvertently created new standards of care and new theories of liability in medical liability claims. The Provider Shield Act provides that nothing in the PPACA shall be interpreted to create new standards of care or permit new causes of action in medical liability cases.
For more information, please contact me at 1-800-962-1399 or email@example.com, or visit Protect Patients Now at http://protectpatientsnow.org.