Senate bill could transform medical malpractice

A new bill has been introduced in the Senate which could have a substantial effect on how medical malpractice claims are handled. The bill, introduced by Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), would prompt states to establish "health courts" or other alternative means of resolving med mal disputes. Under the proposed legislation, 10 states or more would get up to $500,000 in grant money to find alternatives to the current tort system.

Critics, as usual, say the bill goes too far. In addition to establishing an alternative, the bill would also take the unusual step of limiting attorney's fees to 20 percent of med mal settlements in civil suits. Meanwhile, if they do choose a health court, consumers won't have the benefit of a jury listening in, as such cases are handled solely by judges with health industry backgrounds.

To learn more about this legislation:
- read this Modern Healthcare article (sub. req.)

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