Saturday, February 28, 2004


Georgia House panel OKs tort reform legislation

The House Judiciary Committee on Friday unanimously approved legislation designed to help doctors and hospitals in medical malpractice litigation.

Committee Chairman Tom Bordeaux (D-Savannah), a trial lawyer, called Friday's passage of the three bills "a significant step" in the tort reform debate. The legislation should result in lower malpractice insurance premiums for doctors and hospitals, he said.

But because none of the bills put limits on medical malpractice jury awards for a plaintiff's pain and suffering, Georgia's hospital and medical associations are not satisfied.

"The House hasn't produced anything to date that will address the fundamental problem that is causing physicians to leave the state and causing them to stop performing high-risk procedures such as mammograms and delivering babies," said David Cook, executive director of the Medical Association of Georgia.

The legislation, which the full House may consider as soon as next week, allows judges to punish lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits and court motions, elevates the qualifications for medical experts who testify in malpractice cases and shields hospitals from liability in certain emergency room situations.

I am having some difficulty in finding out the exact legislation that was passed out of the committee as it has many bills that address tort reform issues. Some of the more likely suspects include:
SB 408, SB 432, HB 1342, HB 1343 (the one that maybe didn't pass) and HB 1339. HB 1339 has great appeal to me as it would limit liability for emergency and trauma care.

I'll post a follow-up when I can find out more.
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