Legislation aims to keep ACA performance data out of malpractice court

Amid fears that physicians' performance data linked to compliance with the Affordable Care Act could be used against them in medical malpractice cases, the American Medical Association drafted model legislation that would keep ACA-related data out of court. As of press time, the state of Georgia was on the verge of enacting a law making the distinction and several other states are expected to follow suit, American Medical News reported.

Under the bill currently awaiting the signature of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, any medical guidelines or reimbursement criteria developed or implemented under any federal law cannot be construed as a standard of care to establish a physicians' negligence in a medical malpractice or product liability suit, Medscape Today reported.

On the flipside, physicians who get sued can't use their compliance with these guidelines as part of their defense.

The legislation, known as the Standard of Care Protection Act, would ensure that federal laws do not change the way healthcare professionals practice medicine or treat patients through the threat of liability, according to Rep. Phil Gingrey, M.D., (R, Ga.), the bill's chief sponsor.

"This legislation provides that lawsuits cannot be brought against healthcare providers based simply on whether [they] followed national guidelines created by the health are law," Gingrey told Amnews.

"This bill reinforces my belief that medical decisions must be made between patients and their doctors. The practice of medicine is not one-size-fits-all. It must be protected from policies or rules that may threaten a physician's ability to treat patients according to their specific needs."

To learn more:
- read the article from Medscape Today
- see the story from American Medical News

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