January 25, 2011--The American Medical Association (AMA) and 100 medical and physician organizations today sent a letter to the sponsors of H.R. 5, the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011. The organizations strongly support the bipartisan legislation and its reforms of the nation’s medical liability system.
“Our current medical liability system fails both patients and physicians,” says AMA Chair Ardis Dee Hoven, MD. “High jury awards and the cost of defending against lawsuits—even frivolous ones—result in high medical liability premiums, with devastating results for patients.”
“The proven reforms contained in the HEALTH Act would help reduce costs, while ensuring that patients who have been injured due to negligence receive just compensation,” the letter states. “This bill provides the right balance of reforms by promoting speedier resolutions to disputes, maintaining access to courts, maximizing patient recovery of damage awards with unlimited compensation for economic damages, while limiting noneconomic damages to a quarter million dollars.”
“The HEALTH Act would put in place proven reforms, similar to those already working in states like California and Texas,” Dr. Hoven says. “These reforms keep physicians’ liability premiums stable and ensure that patients—not lawyers—receive more of the awards.”