Medical Liability 2009 Legislation

Last Updated: February 4, 2010

NCSL Staff Contact: Heather Morton, Denver, (303) 364-7700

Under state law, a patient may pursue a civil claim against physicians or other health care providers, called medical liability or malpractice, if the health care provider causes injury or death to the patient through a negligent act or omission. To recover damages, the patient must establish:

  1. the physician owed a duty to the patient;
  2. the standard of care and that the physician violated that standard;
  3. a compensable injury; and
  4. the violation of the standard of care caused the harm suffered by the patient.

The legislation in this list may include bills that relate to the following medical liability/malpractice issues:

  • Damage award limits or caps
  • Statute of limitation
  • Joint and several liability
  • Limits on attorney fees
  • Patient compensation or injury fund
  • Pre-trial alternative dispute resolution and screening panels
  • Affidavit or certificate of merit
  • Expert witness standards
  • Medical or peer review panels
  • Insurance premiums

Bills related to medical professionals apologies are listed in a separate Web page.

AL | AZ | AR | CA | CO | CT | DC | FL | GA | HI | IL | IN | IA | LA | ME | MD | MA | MI | MN | MS | MO | MT | NE 
NV | NH | NJ | NM | NY | NC | ND | OH | OK | OR | PA | PR | RISC | SD | TN | TX | UT | VT | VA | WA | WV | WI | WY
STATES BILL SUMMARY
Alabama
H.J.R. 30, First Special Session
Urges the U.S. Congress to address medical liability reform.
 
H.R. 25, First Special Session
Urges the U.S. Congress to address medical liability reform.
 
Signed by governor 5/22/09, Act 748
Under existing law, the state of Alabama provides liability coverage for deaths, injuries, or damages arising out of the negligent or wrongful acts or omissions committed by state employees or agents of the state. This bill includes within the basic liability coverage retired physicians while they are voluntarily serving free health clinics.
Arizona
Provides that in any civil action, the finder of fact may find the defendant not liable if the defendant proves by a preponderance of the evidence that all of the following apply: 1.) At the time of the act that gave rise to the action the plaintiff was a peace officer, firefighter or emergency medical personnel engaged in the execution of any official duty. 2.) The injuries were a result of the hazard that occasioned the plaintiff’s presence. 3.) The defendant is the person who occasioned the plaintiff’s presence. 4.) The defendant did not act intentionally. This affirmative defense is a question of fact and shall be determined by the jury.
 
Signed by governor 7/10/09, Chapter 110
Amends provision regarding the burden of proof for treatment in emergency departments or rendered by on-call providers and the limited liability for treatment related to delivery of infants.
Arkansas
Signed by governor 3/16/09, Act 432
Creates the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act.
 
Signed by governor 3/31/09, Act 726
Removes the exemption for medical malpractice insurance from the minimum policy requirements of §23-79-301 et seq.
California
Passed Assembly 5/28/09
Existing law provides for the licensure and regulation of osteopathic physicians and surgeons by the Osteopathic Medical Board of California, physicians and surgeons by the Medical Board of California (Medical Board), and podiatrists by the California Board of Podiatric Medicine. Existing law requires those licensees, insurers providing professional liability insurance to those licensees, and governmental agencies that self-insure those licensees to report specified settlements, arbitration awards, or civil judgments to the licensee's board if based on the licensee's alleged negligence, error, or omission in practice or his or her rendering of unauthorized professional services. This bill specifies that the reporting requirements apply to the University of California, as specified. With respect to a governmental agency required to submit a report, including a local governmental agency, the bill would require the agency to, prior to submitting a report, provide written notice of its intention to file a report to the affected licensee and provide the licensee with an opportunity to respond to the agency, as specified. Requires any entity or person required to make a report to notify the claimant or his or her counsel that the report has been sent to the appropriate board and would require the claimant or his or her counsel to make the report if the notice is not received within a specified time. Existing law requires these reports to include certain information, including a brief description of the facts of each claim, charge, or allegation, and the amount of the judgment or award and the date of its entry or service. This bill eliminates the requirement that this description be brief and requires the description to also include the role of each physician and surgeon or podiatrist in the care or professional services provided to the patient, as specified. The bill also requires the report to include a copy of the judgment or award.
 
Signed by governor 8/5/09, Chapter 30
Existing law prohibits the bringing of an action against an insurer issuing professional liability insurance policies to health care providers for statements made in bad faith unless the statement was made under a specified circumstance. Under existing law, that provision is repealed as of January 1, 2011, unless another statute deletes or extends that date. This bill extends that date to January 1, 2013.
 

S.B. 821
Signed by governor 10/11/09, Chapter 307
Existing law provides for the professional review of specified healing arts licentiates through a peer review process, and requires the peer review body to report to the relevant agency upon certain circumstances, including circumstances related to an obsolete diversion program. This bill includes within the definition of "licentiate" a holder of a special faculty permit to practice medicine within a medical school. The bill also deletes the peer review provisions related to the obsolete diversion program.

Colorado
Signed by governor 3/30/09, Chapter 72
Concerns modifications to the disclosure requirements imposed on physicians under the "Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act", limits the reporting of medical malpractice judgments, settlements, and arbitration awards against the licensee or applicant to judgments, settlements, or awards entered or granted on or after September 1, 1990, and makes an appropriation in connection therewith.
 
Failed to pass House 4/22/09
Lists medical malpractice insurance as "type I" insurance. Requires the insurance commissioner to place on file for public inspection any rate filing by a medical malpractice insurer and allows a person, acting in good faith, to require a hearing on any rate increase in excess of five percent by a medical malpractice insurer. Allows the commissioner of insurance to establish minimum qualifications for persons participating in the hearing, including, but not limited to, familiarity with Colorado insurance law and acceptance of a duty to represent the interests of Colorado insurance consumers. For purposes of calculating a medical malpractice insurer's profits, specifically includes within investment income any investment income on surplus that is reasonably allocable to Colorado insurance.
 
Signed by governor 6/1/09, Chapter 366
Implements the recommendations of the Department of Regulatory Agencies in its sunset review of the state Board of Chiropractic Examiners (board) as follows: (i) Continues the board until July 1, 2020. (ii) Increases malpractice insurance requirements to $300,000 per claim and $1 million per year. (iii) Specifies that failure to respond to a board-generated complaint letter is grounds for discipline. (iv) Modifies the scope of practice. (v) Deletes an obsolete provision relating to board member terms. (vi) Limits the board's fining authority to at least $1,000 for a first violation, up to $3,000 for a second violation, and up to $5,000 for a third or subsequent violation. Directs the board to establish guidelines for the imposition of such fines.
 
Signed by governor 6/2/09, Chapter 401
Requires advanced practice nurses engaged in independent practice to purchase and maintain or be covered by professional liability insurance, and allows the board to adopt rules specifying exemptions to and lesser requirements for professional liability coverage. Adds failure to maintain professional liability insurance to the grounds for discipline by the board.
Connecticut
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 4/3/09
Establishes a mandatory pretrial screening and mediation process in any case where professional negligence of a health care provider is alleged, and to provide that such screening and mediation be conducted by a panel selected from a pool of health care providers, attorneys and retired judges of the Superior Court selected by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
 
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 4/3/09
Establishes a $750,000 cap on noneconomic damage awards in medical malpractice cases, and provide for periodic payment of noneconomic damage awards that exceed $200,000.
 
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 4/3/09
Limits noneconomic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits to $250,000.
 
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 4/3/09
Extends from two years to four years the medical malpractice statute of limitations in cases involving brain trauma in order to allow a more adequate period of time for victims of brain trauma or their representatives to complete the lengthy diagnosis and discovery process associated with such brain trauma injuries.
 
Passed Senate 5/26/09
By law each insurer (including captive insurers and self-insured entities) must provide to the insurance commissioner a medical malpractice "closed claim" report for each medical malpractice case that has been settled or otherwise disposed of, where the insurer has paid all claims. This bill broadens the application of this law by imposing a reporting requirement on claims against additional health care related facilities, and by requiring the health care provider or facility to file a closed claim report with the commissioner if a claim is not covered by an insurer or self-insurer or if the insurer fails to file it. The bill requires the insurance commissioner to establish procedures by which facilities and providers must be notified when they are required to report closed claim data. The bill requires that punitive damages be included in closed claims reports. It establishes a late filing fee of $ 100 per day for each day a report is overdue, and authorizes the insurance commissioner to adopt regulations to require insuring entities, self-insurers, facilities, and providers to submit all required closed claim reports electronically. By law, the report must be filed within 10 days after the last day of the calendar quarter in which a claim is closed. Current law requires the insurance commissioner to file an annual report with the legislature that summarizes rate filings for medical malpractice insurance for hospitals and any medical professional that the department approved for the prior calendar year. The bill instead requires the report to summarize rate filings for medical malpractice insurance for hospitals, physicians, surgeons, and advanced practice registered nurses and that the department approved for the prior calendar year. Finally, the bill alters several definitions used in current law, and defines some additional terms such as claimant and medical malpractice.
District of Columbia
Enacts the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act.
Florida
Withdrawn from consideration 5/2/09
Withdrawn from consideration 5/2/09
Creates the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act.
 
Laid on table 4/28/09
Revises requirements for professional liability claims and actions; requires absence of claims submission reports to be filed under specified circumstances.
 
Withdrawn from consideration 5/2/09
Withdrawn from consideration 5/2/09
Provides legislative findings and intent. Provides that certain emergency health care providers are agents of the state for purposes of sovereign immunity when acting pursuant to specified statutory obligations. Requires certain indemnity for the state from providers. Provides penalties. Provides definitions. Provides applicability.
 
Withdrawn from consideration 5/2/09
Requires certain disciplinary actions to be reported to DMQA of DOH rather than AHCA; requires DOH receive copies of adverse incident reports and patient records; authorizes facility to charge fee for copies of records; provides additional requirements for constitution of quorum for meetings of certain committees and boards operating under Florida Statutes Chapter 456.
 
Signed by governor 6/16/09, Chapter 189
Clarifies a provision requiring that the Financial Services Commission adopt rules. Revises requirements for reporting professional liability claims and actions. Provides definitions. Specifies events for which certain reports are required. Requires certain absence of claims submission reports to be filed under certain circumstances. Provides requirements for treatment of reopened claims.
 
Withdrawn from consideration 5/2/09
Requires certain disciplinary actions to be reported to the Division of Medical Quality Assurance of the DOH rather than the Division of Health Quality Assurance of the AHCA. Requires the AHCA to forward copies of adverse incident reports to the DOH. Authorizes the AHCA, DOH, or appropriate regulatory board to receive notification of adverse incidents for purposes of certain disciplinary proceedings.
Georgia
Signed by governor 5/4/09, Act 105
Amends Article 8 of Chapter 8 of Title 31 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the "'Health Share' Volunteers in Medicine Act," so as to revise a definition; to provide for sovereign immunity protection for certain health care professionals in safety net clinics who participate in the Health Share Program; to provide for statutory construction.
Hawaii
Passed House 3/10/09
In medical tort litigation, authorizes the court to impose sanctions on a nonprevailing party whose rejection of the Medical Claim Conciliation Panel's decision resulted in the subsequent litigation.
 
Establishes a working group to review the concept of health courts to handle medical injury claims and report its findings to the Legislature.
 
Limits non-economic damages in medical tort actions contingent on compliance with premium rate caps by insurers providing professional liability insurance in Hawaii. Sunsets on the earlier of the date on which an insurer does not comply with the premium rate caps, or July 1, 2015.
 
Requires claimants who reject the medical claim conciliation panel's award of damages and pursue litigation to pay the health care provider's attorneys' fees, costs, and cost of the provider's time under certain conditions. Establishes the medical claim conciliation hearing office and the positions of executive director and hearing officer. Directs the hearing officer to conduct hearings on medical claims in accordance with the administrative procedure act. Makes opinions issued by the hearing officer binding upon the parties. Repeals the medical claim conciliation panel.
 
Establishes the Hawaii Medical Malpractice Insurance Relief Fund to offer policies of medical malpractice insurance to physicians in the state. Repeals Hawaii Medical Malpractice Underwriting Plan (Chapter 435C, HRS). Appropriates funds to the medical malpractice insurance reserve trust fund.
 
Forms a captive insurance company to provide medical malpractice insurance to self-employed medical doctors.
 
Lowers the standard of care from negligence to gross negligence in medical tort actions when services are performed pro bono.
 
Permits plaintiffs in medical tort actions to recover the full amount of economic loss. Limits noneconomic damages. Provides guidelines for the award of punitive damages. Permits the introduction of evidence of collateral benefits. Limits the amount of the contingent fee payable to the plaintiff's attorney.
 
Provides that prevailing party in a medical tort case shall be awarded attorneys' fees.
 
Prohibits the medical claim conciliation panel from filing claims brought after statute of limitations expires. Authorizes the panel to dismiss frivolous or non-meritorious claims. Requires the panel to provide a copy of the certificate of consultation to the health care providers.
 
Passed Senate 3/6/09
Provides for medical expenses and immunity from liability for licensed medical personnel providing volunteer medical services on behalf of the state or a county.
 
Addresses medical malpractice insurance costs by capping non-economic damages at $250,000, establishes limits for attorney contingent fees, and requires that economic damages be allocated based upon proportionate percentage of negligence.
 
Provides a tax credit on a sliding scale for amounts paid for medical malpractice insurance premiums by physicians that move to, and practice medicine in, rural areas.
 
Signed by governor 6/25/09, Act 151
Authorizes physician assistants to sign certain documents; to provide emergency medical care without supervision; to administer immunizations; to prescribe medications for patients suffering from human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome without preauthorization; limits liability of physician assistants under Good Samaritan laws.
 
Establishes the medical claim conciliation hearing office and the positions of executive director and hearing officer. Directs the hearing officer to conduct hearings on medical claims in accordance with the administrative procedure act. Makes opinions issued by the hearing officer binding upon the parties. Repeals the medical claim conciliation panel.
 
Places a ceiling on non-economic damages in medical torts involving neurologists and neurosurgeons and reduces insurance premiums for malpractice liability coverage. Requires a health care provider to disclose to patients adverse events relating to their medical treatment. Requires the Hawaii medical board to collect and publish information about physicians licensed in the state to allow consumers to make informed decisions in selecting physicians. Establishes a medical malpractice damages task force to provide support in implementing the provisions of this Act.
 
Establishes a patient compensation fund to offer medical malpractice insurance in excess of the basic insurance coverage necessary to participate in the fund.
 
Passed House 3/10/09
Prohibits the use of a physician's on-call status from being considered for any purpose, including the application, underwriting, and issuance of insurance coverage, and the setting of premium rates, discounts, rebates, and the renewal or cancellation of insurance coverage.
 
Addresses medical malpractice insurance costs by capping non-economic damages at $500,000 for high-risk medical specialties and $250,000 for all other specialties, establishing a limit of $3,000,000 for noneconomic damages determined by the court to be for catastrophic injuries, and requiring that economic damages be allocated based upon proportionate percentage of negligence. Sunsets December 31, 2015.
 
Amends provisions relating to the medical claim compensation panel by establishing a health court. Increases the number of panel members and amends the manner in which they are appointed.
 
Passed House 3/10/09
Improves the medical tort law by, among other things, setting a maximum award limit for noneconomic damages in medical tort cases against physician specialists. Requires all insurers providing professional liability insurance for health care providers to implement a premium rate established by the state insurance commissioner. Establishes the Medical Malpractice Rate Commission. Establishes the Medical Malpractice Task Force. Requires notification of adverse events.
 
Establishes a medical malpractice damages task force to develop a strategic plan to address the high costs of medical malpractice insurance rates and make recommendations on damage award ranges and guidelines for medical malpractice claims.
 
Revises medical tort reform laws to: allow for arbitration of medical services contracts, create a new cap on noneconomic damages for medical torts, allow for introduction of evidence, limit contingency fees, and allow for periodic payments for future damages. Makes a tortfeasor liable for no more than the percentage of share of damages attributable to that individual or entity. Removes exceptions from law, thus abolishing joint and several liability.
 
Limits the amount of noneconomic damages in medical tort actions. Requires insurers to make direct payments to healthcare providers making claims for the payment of benefits.
 
Limits damages in medical malpractice claims to $1,000,000 for noneconomic damages and to $3,000,000 for noneconomic damages arising from injuries found to be catastrophic by a court. Provides income tax credit for 50 percent of the cost of medical malpractice insurance premiums under certain circumstances. Sunsets July 31, 2014.
 
Requires Hawaii employers' mutual insurance company to provide medical malpractice insurance to physicians licensed to practice in Hawaii.
Illinois
Amends the Illinois Insurance Code. Makes a technical change in a section concerning arbitration of medical malpractice disputes.
 
Amends the Code of Civil Procedure. Makes a technical change in a section concerning healing art malpractice.
 
Amends the Code of Civil Procedure. Makes a technical change in the section defining medical malpractice action.
 
Amends the Code of Civil Procedure. Makes a technical change in a section concerning healing art malpractice.
 
Signed by governor 7/23/09, Public Act 96-0070
Amends the Physician Assistant Practice Act of 1987. Provides less stringent supervision requirements for physician assistants responding to a need for medical care created by an emergency or by a state or local disaster. Provides that no physician who supervises a physician assistant voluntarily and gratuitously providing emergency care as described shall be liable for civil damages for any personal injuries which result from acts or omissions by the physician assistant rendering emergency care.
 
Amends the Code of Civil Procedure. Makes a technical change in a section concerning healing art malpractice.
Indiana
Establishes the midwifery board (board). Sets qualifications for a certified professional midwife (CPM). Requires the board to: (1) develop peer review procedures; (2) require the purchase of liability insurance as a condition for licensure if the board determines liability insurance is sufficiently available; and (3) adopt rules limiting the scope of practice of CPMs to nonhospital settings. Makes it a Class B misdemeanor to practice midwifery without a license. Adds culpability standards to the crimes of practicing medicine or osteopathic medicine and acting as a physician assistant without a license. Allows the board to specify circumstances under which a CPM may administer certain prescription drugs. Allows certain individuals to act under the supervision of a CPM. Requires the office of Medicaid policy and planning to seek a waiver from the United States Department of Health and Human Services to allow Medicaid reimbursement for CPMs. Repeals the definition of "midwife" in the medical malpractice law, and adds a definition of "certified nurse midwife."
Iowa
Provides that a licensed physician acting as a volunteer emergency medical services director shall not be liable for any civil damages for acts or omissions occurring in the performance of the director's volunteer duties unless such acts or omissions constitute recklessness or willful and wanton misconduct.
 
Provides that a licensed physician acting as a volunteer emergency medical services director shall not be liable for any civil damages for acts or omissions occurring in the performance of the director's volunteer duties unless such acts or omissions constitute recklessness or willful and wanton misconduct.
Louisiana
Failed to pass House 5/27/09
Provides for definitions under the private Medical Malpractice Act.
 
Increases the medical malpractice cap to $750,000, exclusive of economic losses, loss of earnings and loss of earning capacity and provides that the cap shall be adjusted annually. Increases the health care provider liability to $150,000.
 
Signed by governor 6/9/09, Act 14
Adds nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist to the definition of "health care provider" for the purposes of the medical malpractice acts for state and private services.
 
Signed by governor 7/1/09, Act 231
Relates to civil liability of health care providers and health care personnel; provides immunity for health care providers and health care personnel during a declared state of emergency who render or fail to render emergency care, health care services, first aid, ambulatory or mobile medical unit assistance, transportation or care delivery during evacuations of health care provider facilities, during repopulations of such facilities and during the sheltering of such facilities; provides for definitions, terms, and conditions.
 
Signed by governor 7/7/09, Act 397
Provides for the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act.
Maine
Signed by governor 5/14/09, Public Chapter 136
Amends the law to allow an active retired justice or judge to conduct arbitration and chair medical malpractice screening panels in addition to those retired justices and judges who may perform those duties now.
 
Provides a statute of limitations for actions for professional negligence regarding health care providers and health care practitioners of three years after the negligence is discovered but in no event more than six years after the cause of action accrues.
 

L.D. 1435
Signed by governor 6/10/09, Public Chapter 358
Amends sentinel events reporting laws to reduce medical errors and improve patient safety.

Maryland
Passed House 3/26/09
Requires physicians to maintain specified amounts of professional liability insurance as a condition of licensure and to notify the Board of Physicians, within a specified period of time, if the insurance is cancelled; authorizes the Board to suspend, revoke or deny the license of a physician if proof of insurance is not provided to the Board within 30 days of the licensed physician's obtaining or renewing the insurance.
 
Withdrawn from further consideration 3/23/09
Increases specified limitations on noneconomic damages for a personal injury action and a wrongful death action concerning health care malpractice for a cause of action arising on or after October 1, 2009.
 
Withdrawn from further consideration 4/13/09
Passed Senate 3/20/09
Requires that, for calendar years 2010, 2011, and 2012, disbursements be made from the Medical Assistance Program Account of the Maryland Health Care Provider Rate Stabilization Fund to provide a subsidy for medical professional liability insurance policies issued to family practitioners who have staff privileges at Garrett County Memorial Hospital and who also provide obstetrical services at the hospital; terminating the Act at the end of June 30, 2013.
 
Requires physicians licensed to practice medicine in the state to notify patients in writing and on each visit of specified information relating to professional liability insurance coverage; requires physicians to maintain records of the signed patient notification and post specified information in their place of practice; authorizes the Board of Physicians to establish specified language for the notification.
 
Requires physicians conducting medical examinations and evaluations of a permanent impairment for Workers' Compensation Commission hearings to be licensed physicians in Maryland; prohibits physicians under the Act from rendering opinions outside their area of expertise; provides that the state's medical malpractice laws apply to physicians under the Act.
Massachusetts
Amends the statute of limitation for malpractice complaints for injuries sustained by minors.
 
Amends requirements for notice before filing a claim and provides for apologies.
 
Relates to qualifications for expert witnesses in actions for medical malpractice.
 
Relates to medical malpractice claims; provides that no physician or nurse administering immunization or other protective programs under public health programs shall be liable in a civil suit for damages as a result of any act or omission on his part in carrying out his duties; relates to expert witnesses, periodic payments and several liability.
 
Provides that in any action for malpractice, negligence, error, omission, mistake or unauthorized rendering of professional services, against a provider of health care, the plaintiff shall have the burden of proving the following: (1) The recognized standard of acceptable professional practice in the profession and the specialty thereof, if any, that the defendant practices in the community in which he practices or in a similar community at the time the alleged injury or wrongful action occurred; (2) That the defendant acted with less than or failed to act with ordinary and reasonable care in accordance with such standard; and (3) As a direct and proximate result of the defendant's negligent act or omission, the plaintiff suffered injuries which would not otherwise have occurred. (4) The plaintiff was a patient of the defendant and had a professional relationship to the defendant which created a duty of care on the defendant’s part or where the plaintiff is a reasonably identifiable victim of the patient of a defendant psychotherapist to whom the patient communicated a serious threat of physical violence against the plaintiff.
 
Provides that no physician, physician assistant, or nurse administering immunization or other protective programs under public health programs shall be liable in a civil suit for damages as a result of any act or omission on his part in carrying out his duties. Provides that no physician, physician assistant, or nurse who is registered by the Commonwealth in the Massachusetts System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals or its successor entity shall be liable in civil suit for damages for any act or omission on his part related to his voluntary participation in any disaster preparedness or response activity.
 
Provides that in the case of a hospital where the tort results in death the liability, in any such cause of action shall not be less than $100,000.
 
Provides that any medical professional shall be required to provide immediate parental notification of the impact of medical treatment negligence or error as proximal to the discovery of such negligence or error involving a pediatric or minor patient.
 
Establishes a commission to study medical malpractice courts.
 
Establishes a pilot project creating medical malpractice court committees for the purpose of developing an approach to adjudicating medical disputes arising between patients and health care providers that is evidence-based and provides appropriate and fair compensation to claimants. Committees shall be located in the counties of Berkshire, Worcester, and Suffolk. Pilot courts shall be applicable to claimants residing within the named counties. The three pilot courts, as established herein, shall have exclusive jurisdiction over all actions for malpractice, error or mistake against a provider of health care arising within the county. The committees shall be under the direct supervision of the chief justice of administration and management. The chief justice shall be responsible to fund, coordinate, and evaluate activities of the committees within said counties to screen and refer cases to the medical malpractice pilot courts.
 
Requires insurers to report malpractice claims or actions for optometrists.
 
Relates to medical malpractice self insurance trust funds.
 
Establishes an Adverse Event Disclosure and Compensation Grant Program for hospitals.
 
Provides for a fair judgment interest rate for medical malpractice actions.
 
Relates to malpractice reform; amends definitions for apologies; amends requirements for notice before filing a claim.
 
Provides, notwithstanding any general or specific law to the contrary, if a registered physician is convicted of three cases of medical malpractice the board shall revoke said physicians registration revoked.
 
Provides that no physician or nurse administering immunization or other protective programs under public health programs shall be liable in a civil suit for damages as a result of any act or omission on his part in carrying out his duties. Provides that no physician or nurse who is registered by the Commonwealth in the Massachusetts System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals or its successor entity shall be liable in civil suit for damages for any act or omission on his part related to his voluntary participation, or within the course of employment, in any disaster preparedness or response activity.
 
Reforms the medical malpractice system, including expert witnesses, several liability and evidence.
 
Establishes a Patient Quality and Compensation Commission and pilot project.
 
Provides that in any action for malpractice, negligence, error, omission, mistake or the unauthorized rendering of professional services against a provider of health licensed pursuant to §2 of chapter 112, including actions pursuant to section 60B of this chapter, an expert witness shall be board certified in the same specialty as the defendant physician as licensed pursuant to §2 of chapter 112.
Michigan
Passed House 12/3/09
Modifies procedural provisions for expert witnesses in medical malpractice actions.
 
Revises requirements for immunity for retired health professionals providing medical care at certain health clinics.
 

H.B. 5674
Expands immunity for medical care or treatment provided to prisoners in local jails.

 
Clarifies the liability of employees being paid by their employer to volunteer at health clinics.
 
Clarifies that physician’s assistants are included as medical personnel with immunity from tort liability for search and rescue and tactical operations.
 

S.B. 858
Limits liability for medical malpractice for emergency treatment in a hospital.

Minnesota
Relates to civil actions; regulates the liability of certain health care providers for providing emergency care and treatment; regulates affidavits of expert review in malpractice actions against health care providers.
 
Relates to health; provides immunity from liability for volunteer dentists under certain circumstances.
Mississippi
Died in committee 2/3/09
Revises certificate of consultation requirements in medical malpractice actions.
 
Signed by governor 5/13/09, Chapter 563
Amends §83-48-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, to provide that the first $2 million of any excess funds in the medical malpractice insurance availability plan shall be transferred into the budget contingency fund.
 
Died in committee 2/3/09
Provides that all malpractice claims shall be reviewed by a medical review panel; allows parties to mutually agree to opt out of this requirement; establishes the membership review panel; provides what evidence may be considered by the panel; provides the form of the decision; provides for panelist immunity and compensation; provides that the losing party shall pay attorney fees to the prevailing party under certain circumstances.
 
Died in committee 2/3/09
Provides that malpractice claims may be reviewed by the Medical Malpractice Commission; establishes the Medical Malpractice Commission; provides what evidence may be considered by the commission; provides the form of the decision; provides for commissioners' immunity and compensation; provides for payment of attorney fees under certain circumstances; amends §73-25-14, Mississippi Code of 1972, in conformity thereto; repeals §11-1-58, Mississippi Code of 1972, which requires a certificate of consultation in certain medical malpractice actions.
 
Died in committee 2/3/09
Amends §41-75-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, to provide that physicians who perform abortions in abortion facilities must be covered by a medical malpractice insurance policy issued by an insurance company licensed to do business in Mississippi.
 
Died in committee 2/3/09
Amends §11-1-60, Mississippi Code of 1972, to provide for a proportionate reduction in the limitation of liability for health care providers who make medical services available to Medicaid recipients.
Missouri
Adds medical practitioners providing services to students at a summer camp to the list of health care providers for whom the State Legal Expense Fund is available for payment of certain claims filed against a provider.
 
Requires medical malpractice insurers to establish premiums based on average medical malpractice judgments in the county in which the provider practices.
 
Adds specialists and others to the list of health care providers for whom the State Legal Expense Fund is available for payment of certain claims filed against a provider.
 
Modifies various provisions relating to the laws governing medical malpractice insurance. This act provides a definition for the term "claim" as it is used in the medical malpractice insurance claims reporting provisions. The act also provides a definition for the term "self-insurer" for those provisions as the act subjects persons and other entities that assume liability for the payment of medical malpractice claims to the data and claims reporting provisions of §§383.100 to 383.125. Under the act, the director must submit certain information to appropriate health care licensing boards. The director must also submit a report containing certain medical malpractice claims information to the Department of Social Services so that it can determine whether the injured party was concurrently enrolled in Mo HealthNet when the alleged malpractice occurred. The act institutes new confidentiality rules related to the disclosure of data related to the medical malpractice claim information submitted to the director. All medical malpractice claims data submitted to the director shall be considered confidential and immune from Sunshine Law requests. Medical malpractice claims data that is the subject of a filed lawsuit may only be released after the claims are closed and in a prescribed format outlined by the act. All data elements that reasonably could reveal any parties involved, either directly or indirectly, to a malpractice actions or claims, shall be removed prior to making any such data public. Any references to a county or smaller geographic unit shall be suppressed, though county-level data may be released in aggregate form. No records that include any indemnity payments or expense amounts that identify a particular medical specialty may be released on an individual record basis unless there are a minimum of four additional claims during an annual period against practitioners of the same medical specialty for each identifiable unit of geography. All dates shall be anonymized prior to public release. Specific dates shall not be released in any form more precise than the year corresponding to the date. Data that reasonably could identify an insurer shall be anonymized prior to the public release of the individual claim records. The name and any identifying codes of an insurer shall not be made public. The act implements new rules regarding the reporting of medical malpractice premium, loss and exposure data. Under the act, insurers and self-insurers must annually report the following: (1) Aggregate premium; (2) Written and earned premium; (3) Aggregate exposure; (4) Written and earned exposures; and (5) Aggregated indemnity paid and aggregate indemnity incurred by not paid. The act specifically provides that the medical malpractice claims data and premium data shall be shared with the Health Care Stabilization Fund Feasibility Board in a confidential manner. The medical malpractice premium, loss and exposure data reported to the director is deemed confidential information under the act and is not discoverable or admissible as evidence in any legal action in any civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding, nor shall any of the data be released by the director to the public. The act also deems the data collected by the department to be a trade secret. As a trade secret, the submitted data is immune from Sunshine Law requests. The act also deems the data collected by the department to be proprietary and confidential. This act provides the directors of the Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association may provide medical malpractice insurance coverage as determined by the directors. The policies may provide coverage on a claims-made, an occurrence, or a prior-acts basis. Under the current law, the association may only issue occurrence-based policies. The act also modifies the law with respect to the surcharge paid by association members during their first year of medical malpractice coverage. Under the act, an association member must pay a surcharge in an amount equal to 25 percent of the member’s premium payment. This act extends the sunset provision on the Health Care Stabilization Fund Feasibility Board from December 31, 2010, to December 31, 2012. Under current law, a physician or surgeon that practices in a hospital located in a county with a population greater than 75,000 must furnish evidence of a medical malpractice insurance policy of at least $500,000. This act provides that no hospital shall require a medical malpractice insurance policy in an amount greater than $500,000 in order to be admitted or retained in the medical staff. Under current law, other hospitals within the state can require their physicians to carry minimum levels of medical malpractice insurance as a condition of membership on a hospital medical staff. This act provides that the maximum level that a hospital may require is $500,000.
Montana
Signed by governor 3/25/09, Chapter 63
Provides for recognition of licensure and for registration of out-of-state volunteer professionals when a disaster or emergency is in effect; establishes administrative disciplinary sanctions for volunteer professionals; provides rulemaking authority; defines "volunteer professional"; provides immunity for the actions of volunteer professionals.
 
Missed Deadline for General Bill Transmittal 2/26/09
Extends the limitation on health care providers' liability in emergency situations arising from births outside a hospital.
 
Missed Deadline for General Bill Transmittal 2/26/09
Revises statutory third-party bad faith litigation against insurers to exempt medical malpractice insurance.
 
Signed by governor 4/17/09, Chapter 255
Revises laws relating to disaster and emergency services; defines "disaster medicine"; limits liability of licensed health care professionals during the practice of disaster medicine.
 
Signed by governor 4/28/09, Chapter 385
A physician who renders health care within the scope of the physician's license to a patient as specified is not liable to a patient or other person for civil damages resulting from the rendering of the care unless the damages were the result of gross negligence or willful or wanton acts or omissions by the physician. Each patient must be given notice that under state law the physician may not be held legally liable for ordinary negligence for services provided under the health corps program.
 
Signed by governor 4/3/09, Chapter 157
Extends the liability limits on medical practitioners and dental hygienists who provide services without compensation to community-based programs.
Nebraska
Examines medical malpractice liability.
Nevada
Amends existing law to extend the limitation on liability to psychologists licensed under chapter 641 of NRS or to persons holding similar licenses in other states. This section also provides a limitation on liability when certain persons who are licensed pursuant to one of these chapters or holding similar licenses in other states and who are retired or not practicing full-time render medical care gratuitously and in good faith to a person who is a victim of a natural or man-made disaster.
 
Passed Assembly 4/20/09
Increases the period of the statute of limitations for an action for injury or death against a provider of health care from not more than three years after the date of injury or one year after the plaintiff discovers or should have discovered the injury to not more than four years after the date of injury or two years after the plaintiff discovers or should have discovered the injury.
New Hampshire
Repeals the law relative to screening panels for medical injury claims.
 
Failed to pass House 3/24/09
Eliminates the requirement that the trial judge present unanimous findings of the screening panel to the jury in medical injury actions.
 
Failed to pass Senate 6/3/09
Establishes criteria for admission into evidence of certain medical bills, reports, and records.
 
Failed to pass Senate 5/13/09
Makes pretrial screening panels optional for parties to a medical injury action.
 
Signed by governor 7/29/09, Chapter 287
Establishes a reporting system for hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers to report adverse events.
New Jersey

A.B. 1264
Substituted 5/21/09
A.B. 3633
S.B. 2471
Signed by governor 8/31/09, Chapter 122
Directs the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) to include in the New Jersey Hospital Performance Report issued annually by DHSS hospital-specific data concerning the following 14 patient safety indicators: Foreign body left during procedure; Iatrogenic pneumothorax; Postoperative hip fracture; Postoperative hemorrhage or hematoma; Postoperative deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE); Postoperative sepsis; Postoperative wound dehiscence; Accidental puncture or laceration; Transfusion reaction; Birth trauma; Obstetric trauma- vaginal delivery with instrument; Obstetric trauma- vaginal delivery without instrument; Air embolism; and Surgery on the wrong side, wrong body part, or wrong person, or wrong surgery performed on a patient. DHSS will use data from procedure and diagnosis codes recorded in hospital bills to compile the required information on patient safety indicators. The bill also authorizes the commissioner of Health and Senior Services, in consultation with the Quality Improvement Advisory Committee in DHSS, to include additional patient safety indicators in the annual report, by regulation. The commissioner shall consider indicators that: (1) are recommended by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; (2) are suitable for comparative reporting and public accountability, and are risk adjusted; (3) have a strong evidence base with no substantial evidence against their use for comparative reporting; and (4) can be measured through data that are available through hospital procedure and diagnosis codes. Since the conditions identified in the patient safety indicators are generally preventable medical errors, the bill seeks to insure hospital and physician accountability by providing that a general hospital shall not charge or otherwise seek to obtain payment from a patient for costs associated with a condition that is subject to the hospital acquired condition payment provisions of the Medicare program, as established by regulation of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Similarly, a physician who was the attending physician responsible for causing a condition for which a hospital is prohibited from seeking payment, shall not charge or otherwise seek to obtain payment from a patient for costs associated with the condition. The bill provides that a general hospital shall be required to notify its patients of the provisions of the bill on a form and in a manner prescribed by the commissioner. Finally the bill directs the commissioner to request the Quality Improvement Advisory Committee in DHSS to study and make recommendations to the commissioner on how to expand public reporting by DHSS of patient pressure ulcers, patient infections due to hospital care, and falls by patients in general hospitals. The bill takes effect on the 180th day after enactment, but the commissioner is authorized to take such anticipatory administrative action in advance thereof as shall be necessary for the implementation of the bill.

 
Signed by governor 5/6/09, Chapter 56
Substituted 2/23/09
Requires an acupuncturist to maintain medical malpractice liability insurance coverage, at appropriate amounts as set forth in regulation.
 
Combined with A.B. 1264 5/7/09
Designed to provide financial incentives to enhance ongoing hospital efforts to assure quality of care and minimize preventable errors or conditions. Specifically, the bill prohibits a general hospital from charging or otherwise seeking to obtain payment from a patient or third party payer for costs associated with a hospital-acquired condition, or treatment for a hospital-acquired condition, as identified by the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services pursuant to section 5001(c) of the federal “Deficit Reduction Act of 2005,” Pub.L.109-171, and specified by rule of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), for which the federal Medicare program will not reimburse the hospital on or after October 1, 2008. The bill defines “hospital-acquired condition” to mean an event, injury, or infection, which occurs during the provision of health care services at the hospital and could reasonably have been prevented through the application of evidence-based guidelines. These hospital-acquired conditions currently include, as specified by CMS in its Inpatient Prospective Payment System Fiscal Year 2008 Final Rule: objects left in the body during surgery; air embolism; blood incompatibility; catheter-associated urinary tract infection; pressure ulcers; vascular catheter-associated infection; surgical site infection - mediastinitis after coronary artery bypass graft surgery; and falls and trauma – fractures, dislocations, intracranial injuries, crushing injuries, and burns. CMS is authorized by Pub.L.109-171 to periodically revise the list of hospital-acquired conditions, and it is anticipated that the list will be expanded to include other conditions. The bill further provides as follows: In addition to any hospital-acquired condition specified by rule of CMS, the commissioner may by regulation prohibit a hospital from charging or otherwise seeking to obtain payment from a patient or third party payer for costs associated with a hospital-acquired condition that has not been specified by rule of CMS. This provision will allow the commissioner to add other hospital-acquired conditions based upon consultation with, and recommendations by, third party payers, public health officials, hospitals, advocacy groups, or private citizens. A hospital that is denied reimbursement by a third party payer in accordance with the provisions of this bill may appeal that denial to the third party payer. A hospital is required to notify its patients of the provisions of this bill on a form and in a manner to be prescribed by regulation of the commissioner. The bill takes effect on the 180th day after enactment, but authorizes the commissioner to take anticipatory administrative action in advance as necessary for its implementation.
 
The bill provides for various revisions to the laws governing lawsuits and insurance coverage for medical malpractice. The bill also provides that a malpractice action against a health care provider shall be commenced within two years after the plaintiff or patient discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the injury, but not more than four years after the date of the alleged act, omission, neglect or occurrence that is the basis of the action, except that in the case in which the allegation of malpractice against the health care provider is that a foreign object has been wrongfully left within a patient’s body, the claim shall be barred unless commenced within one year after the plaintiff or patient discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the existence of the foreign object wrongfully left in the patient’s body, whichever first occurs. The bill also revises the requirements for an affidavit by an appropriately licensed person to be provided by a plaintiff in certain negligence and malpractice actions, by further requiring that the affidavit state that the care, skill or knowledge used in the treatment, practice or work that is the subject of the complaint did not meet a commonly recognized reasonable standard of care. In the case of an action for medical malpractice, the affidavit shall further: (1) establish that there was a provider-patient relationship and identify the specific act by the defendant which is the basis for the cause of action against the defendant, or, if there was no provider-patient relationship, identify the specific act by the defendant which is the basis for the cause of action against the defendant; and (2) be based on and refer to objective scientific clinical evidence. The person executing the affidavit shall include in the affidavit a certification, under penalty of perjury, that the patient’s chart and other pertinent information submitted has been personally reviewed. A person shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if the person purposefully or knowingly makes, or causes to be made, a false, fictitious, fraudulent, or misleading statement of material fact in, or omits a material fact from, or causes a material fact to be omitted from, any such affidavit. The bill also provides that in an action alleging medical malpractice, a person shall not give expert testimony or execute an affidavit pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1995, c.139 (C.2A:53A-26 et seq.) on the appropriate standard of practice or care unless the person is licensed as a physician or other health care professional in New Jersey, as opposed to the current requirement that the physician or professional be licensed in the United States, provided however, that a court may waive the requirement that a person providing testimony as an expert witness be licensed in New Jersey upon sufficient evidence that no person licensed in New Jersey meets the qualifications set forth in section 7 of P.L.2004, c.17 (2A:53A-41). The bill further provides with respect to medical malpractice actions, that expert testimony shall be based on and refer to objective scientific clinical evidence, as defined in the bill. A person testifying as an expert witness in such an action shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree, and shall be forever barred from presenting expert testimony in this state if the person purposefully or knowingly makes, or causes to be made, a false, fictitious, fraudulent, or misleading statement of material fact in, or omits a material fact from, or causes a material fact to be omitted from, any expert testimony. The bill also provides that an insurer shall not increase the premium of any medical malpractice liability insurance policy based on a claim of medical negligence or malpractice against an insured unless the claim, as defined in the bill, results in a medical malpractice claim settlement, judgment or arbitration award against the insured. The bill also prohibits an insurer from increasing medical malpractice insurance premiums, if the alleged malpractice occurred in certain charitable or emergency situations. The bill also provides that every claim or demand filed against an insured for damages in excess of $100,000 per occurrence for economic loss and non-economic loss shall document the economic loss for which relief is sought and shall set forth in detail the economic loss incurred at the time the case is subject to a complementary dispute resolution proceeding, at the time settlement negotiations are entered into, or at the time a case is tried, as well as a detailed statement of claimed prospective economic loss resulting from the allegation of medical malpractice, which documentation shall be updated from time to time as necessary and shall be provided to the court, the complementary dispute resolution agent or, in the case of settlement, the defendant, as applicable. The bill also provides, that in every trial in which damages are awarded in an action alleging medical malpractice, the trier of fact shall separately itemize damages awarded for economic loss and damages awarded for non-economic loss and the judge presiding over the proceeding shall review each verdict to determine pursuant to section 9 of P.L.2004, c.17 (C.2A:53A-42), whether the award is clearly inadequate, excessive, or disproportionate in view of the nature of the medical condition or injury that is the cause of action or because of passion or prejudice by the jury. The bill also provides that it shall be presumed that a person who signs an informed consent form or document for a medical procedure or other form of health care has read that form or document. The bill also provides that if an attorney representing a plaintiff in a medical malpractice action files the complaint using fictitious names for one or more persons who may be determined to be parties to the action but whose role is unknown at the time of the filing of the complaint, there shall be no time limitation within which the attorney may substitute the name of any person or persons for a fictitious name nor any other bar to such substitution if the person or persons are subsequently determined to be joined as a party to the action. Finally, the bill provides that a physician licensed to practice medicine in this state shall not be liable for civil damages as a result of any act or omission in connection with the rendering of any treatment or procedure for illness or injury if the treatment or procedure is rendered while the physician is performing the treatment or procedure as a volunteer, in good faith and without consideration, at a clinic, other health care facility, or any other location where the treatment or procedure is being rendered.
 

A.B. 4245
Signed by governor 1/16/10, Chapter 248
S.B. 2934
Substituted 1/7/10
This bill revises the approval process for rate changes applicable to medical malpractice liability insurance. Under the bill, the commissioner of Banking and Insurance shall prescribe by regulation a designated range of annual rate change, which shall be an increase or decrease of between not less than five percent and not more than 15 percent. The commissioner may also determine, pursuant to regulation, the categories, subcategories, specialties, and subspecialties of health care provider to which the application of the designated range shall apply. Any rate, supplementary rate information, or change or amendment thereof, filed by an insurer or rating organization which proposes a rate change within this designated range shall become effective not less than 30 days after the filing. However, notwithstanding this arrangement, only one filing by an insurer or rating organization of a proposed rate change within the designated range may take effect within any 12-month period without the express approval of the commissioner. Any filing by an insurer or rating organization proposing a rate change which exceeds the designated range, or proposing an additional rate change within this range during any 12-month period, shall be subject to prior approval by the commissioner pursuant to section 14 of P.L.1944, c.27 (C.17:29A-14) before becoming effective. Based on the revision of the rate change approval process by the bill, medical malpractice liability insurance risks producing an annual premium in excess of $10,000 shall no longer be automatically deemed a “special risk” subject to the “special risk” rate approval process set forth under section 12 of P.L.1982, c.114 (C.17:29AA-12). Instead, the provisions of the bill shall apply to any filing on medical malpractice liability insurance risks for a rate change.

New Mexico
Relates to health care; creates the Obstetrics Administrative Compensation System Task Force to design a comprehensive plan for implementing an obstetrics administrative compensation system; makes an appropriation.
 
Appropriates $46,000 to the Birthing Workforce Retention Fund to provide malpractice insurance premium assistance for certified nurse-midwives or physicians whose insurance premium costs jeopardize their ability to continue their obstetric practices in New Mexico.
 
Relates to medical malpractice; enacts the Independent Health Care Provider Liability Act; provides liability limits for certain malpractice claims against independent health care providers.
 
Relates to taxation; provides for a distribution of certain gross receipts taxes to defray the cost of medical malpractice insurance premiums for certified nurse-midwives; creates a fund; provides for administration of the fund by the superintendent of Insurance; provides powers and duties; makes an appropriation.
 
Adopted 3/20/09
Requests the New Mexico Health Policy Commission to continue the task force on obstetric health care practitioner liability insurance and to expand the scope of the task force to include evidence-based maternity care.
 
Requests the secretary of Human Services and the superintendent of Insurance to study the increasing cost of medical and professional liability insurance for health care providers and facilities.
 
Relates to health; creates the Birthing Workforce Retention Fund for assistance with malpractice premiums for certified nurse-midwives and physicians who provide birthing services to low-income New Mexicans; makes an appropriation.
 
Adopted 3/3/09
Requests the Department of Health to study the feasibility of expanding the dental health care act to allow retired dentists coverage under the Department of Health's malpractice insurance.
New York
A.B. 759
Provides for a premium reduction for physicians and licensed midwives who complete a risk management strategies in obstetrics course.
 
A.B. 846
S.B. 2723
Requires a certificate of merit in actions for damages, contribution or indemnity arising out of alleged negligence of a professional licensed pursuant to the education law; establishes a party in an action for medical, dental or podiatric malpractice may not omit the name of certain experts in responding to a request; limits judgments for past and future damages in an action to recover damages for dental, medical or podiatric malpractice; limits compensation for noneconomic damages suffered by an injured plaintiff in any personal injury action to $250,000.
 
A.B. 1178
Enacting clause stricken 6/23/09
Relates to the admissibility of testimony concerning test results; provides that testimony concerning medical and diagnostic procedures shall be inadmissible unless the actual graphic, numerical, symbolic or pictorial representation is available and admissible in evidence.
 
A.B. 1254
S.B. 1514
Prohibits interviews of other party's treating physicians or health care providers in personal injury medical, dental, or podiatric malpractice or wrongful death actions.
 
A.B. 1596
S.B. 2821
Prohibits the disclosure and discovery of the testimony of a party to a health care quality assurance or peer review proceeding; further adds the failure to cooperate and participate in the quality assurance, reporting, activities, requirements and procedures covered under such discovery to the definition of professional misconduct.
 
A.B. 1725
Passed Assembly 3/19/09
Provides that an affirmation of a health care practitioner may be served or filed in an action in lieu of and with same force and effect as an affidavit (changes the current reference in existing provisions from "physician, osteopath or dentist" to "health care practitioner").
 
A.B. 3541
Imposes a tax on health maintenance organizations and establishes the medical malpractice relief fund.
 
A.B. 4242
Relates to the health care practitioner volunteer program; makes technical corrections; provides for a health care practitioner volunteer to be deemed an employee for the purposes of §17 of the Public Officers Law with respect to acts within the scope of participation in the program.
 
A.B. 4627
S.B. 1729
Alters the statute of limitations for medical, dental or podiatric malpractice to two years and six months from the time when a person knows or reasonably should have known of the alleged negligent act or omission and knows or reasonably should have known that such negligent act or omission has caused an injury; revives previously dismissed medical, dental and podiatric malpractice actions for a one year period.
 

A.B. 4656
S.B. 8347
Provides for the certification of and qualifications for dentists practicing oral and maxillofacial surgery; provides that in an oral and maxillofacial surgery malpractice action, only a physician may be called as an expert witness at trial.

 
A.B. 5239
S.B. 6131
Establishes a penalty of not less than $1,000 for each intentional destruction, mutilation or significant alteration of a medical record by a party to a medical malpractice action, or by any officer, director, member, employee or agent of such party; also establishes a cause of action on behalf of any person injured as the result of such destruction, mutilation or significant alteration.
 
A.B. 5252
Relates to funds used for the physician loan repayment program and the regents physicians loan forgiveness program for physicians practicing in designated physician shortage areas and creates the medical malpractice rate relief program within the regents physician loan forgiveness program in designated physician shortage areas.
 
A.B. 5264
Directs the Department of Health to annually publish a list of health care providers with five or more medical malpractice judgments, awards and/or settlements during the most recent 10 years.
 
A.B. 5548
Requires licensed health care professionals and hospitals to make available to patients and prospective patients a printed copy of any medical malpractice convictions or information; provides civil and criminal penalties for failure to comply.
 
A.B. 6184
Enacts the "medical liability reform act"; requires attorney for plaintiff in a medical, dental or podiatric malpractice case to include with the certificate of merit, an affidavit of an appropriate medical professional licensed in this state stating that there is a reasonable basis for such malpractice action; failure to file will result in dismissal; modifies limited liability of persons jointly liable; limits noneconomic damages in such causes of action to $250,000; requires enhanced and comprehensive disclosure of expert witnesses to be used by any party in medical, dental and podiatric malpractice cases.
 
Requires eye surgery patients to receive disclosure of and consent to the provision of postoperative care pursuant to an agreement with another physician or optometrist: provides that the failure to comply with such provisions shall constitute malpractice.
 
A.B. 6514
Relates to the use of expert medical testimony; creates the health care courts pilot program; creates a new element of professional misconduct for providing expert witness testimony that is without reasonable medical foundation.
 

A.B. 6538
Relates to full and good faith participation in peer review activities.

 
A.B. 6589
S.B. 2959
Extends certain provisions relating to primary medical malpractice insurance coverage.
 
A.B. 8047
Clarifies that the fees allowed to be charged for producing medical records in connection with civil litigation is governed by the civil practice law and rules in order to provide for the fair and efficient administration of justice.
 
A.B. 8620
Relates to the payment of medical malpractice insurance premiums and creates the health care access protection fund.
 
A.B. 8811
Creates the medical liability insurance association to replace the medical malpractice insurance pool, as the provider of medical malpractice insurance; provides availability to those unable to obtain medical malpractice insurance in the voluntary market.
 
A.B. 8921
Provides for a limitation of non-economic damages in certain person injury cases; relates to the exemption of tax districts from obligation or liability with respect to pre-existing environmental contamination or pollution; relates to liability of public entities; relates to civil actions against professionals; relates to the duty to keep premises safe for certain uses and enacts the equine activity safety code act; relates to specific defenses for product liability actions; relates to the disclosure of employment related information.
 
A.B. 8964
S.B. 3203
Prohibits interviews of other party's treating physicians or health care providers in personal injury medical, dental, or podiatric malpractice or wrongful death actions.
 
A.B. 9014
S.B. 5374
Provides an exemption to certain provisions relating to risk-based capital for property/casualty insurance companies and repeals certain provisions relating thereto, and to financial regulation of medical malpractice insurance liability companies.
 
A.B. 9036
Signed by governor 7/11/09, Chapter 216
S.B. 6026
Substituted 6/30/09
S.B. 60408
S.B. 65007
Relates to extending the dates for increasing and imposing malpractice and professional medical conduct insurance rates.
 

A.B. 9114
Requires a general hospital that submits an incident report to the Department of Health to simultaneously provide a copy of such report to the affected patients and/ or their legal representatives; stays the statute of limitations for medical, dental and podiatric malpractice causes of action until one year after an incident report is submitted.

 
S.B. 223
Limits the amount of awards in medical malpractice lawsuits; limits such awards to the amount of malpractice insurance held by the defendant; establishes the excess medical malpractice liability fund.
 
S.B. 348
Requires the state Board for Professional Medical Conduct to initiate a preliminary investigation of physicians against whom a significant number of claims of malpractice have been alleged; establishes a formal process by which certain claims and complaints which allege medical malpractice and professional medical misconduct are forwarded to the Department of Health for an expedited review and, if necessary, a more intensive investigation.
 
S.B. 417
Provides that whenever health care organizations delay, fail or refuse to approve, provide, arrange for, or pay for in a timely manner any health care service that it is contractually obligated to perform, it shall be liable for any personal injury, death or damages caused by delay, failure or refusal.
 
S.B. 1894
Enacts the medical malpractice insurance premium credit act; provides a tax credit for a percentage of medical malpractice premiums paid by such taxpayer; defines relevant terms.
 
S.B. 2040
Repeals that restriction of the judiciary law prohibiting contingent fees and requiring a sliding scale fee for attorneys in claims or actions for medical, dental or podiatric malpractice.
 
S.B. 2137
Creates a state board for recredentialing of selected physician specialties and requires all physicians in the state to obtain medical malpractice insurance; exempts retired and teaching physicians.
 
S.B. 2463
Provides for accountability of "health care organizations" (i.e., entities, other than a health care provider, that approve, provide, arrange for or pay for health care services, including a health plan's preferred provider organization); provides that whenever health care organizations delay, fail or refuse to approve, provide, arrange for, or pay for in a timely manner any health care service that it is contractually obligated to provide or cover for a person, it shall be liable for any personal injury, death or damages caused by delay, failure or refusal; provides that an organization shall be liable for acts by an agent, contractor, etc., for which the organization would be liable if the act were committed by the organization; imposes upon all health plans (including workers compensation and casualty insurers) the duty to exercise reasonable care when making decisions that affect the health care service of an enrollee, and in selecting and exerting influence over its employees, agents, etc., who act on its behalf regarding decisions that affect the quality of an enrollee's diagnosis, care or treatment; prohibits organizations from requiring a health care provider to indemnify or hold it harmless for its liability; related provisions.
 
S.B. 2744
Provides that the personal liability of obstetricians and gynecologists for non-economic and actual economic loss be limited in certain cases to $250,000; establishes impaired infant compensation fund to pay for loss above $250,000 in some cases; provides for payment of medical and other expenses of an "impaired infant."
 
S.B. 3670
Provides for the reporting of medical malpractice to the Office of Professional Medical Conduct; requires the court to notify the Office of Professional Misconduct and a physician's place or places of employment upon the filing of a felony complaint against a physician filed in this state; requires the court to notify the Office of Professional Misconduct upon the filing of a misdemeanor complaint against a physician filed in this state.
 
S.B. 4412
Relates to standards for claims-made coverage purchased by psychiatrists; provides that insurers may offer insureds extended reporting periods.
 
S.B. 4439
Requires all physicians licensed or permitted to practice medicine in the state of New York to procure and maintain in full force and effect a policy of medical malpractice insurance with primary levels of coverage at $1 million dollars for each claimant under such policy and $3 million dollars for all claimants under such policy in any one year and excess coverage with similar levels of coverage.
 
S.B. 5558
Relates to the time to commence certain medical malpractice actions; provides that actions related to acts or omissions of hospitals where an incident report is required to be filed may be filed within one year of the required filing.
North Carolina
Authorizes the payment of future expenses arising from medical malpractice actions to be paid periodically.
 
Modifies appeal bonds in medical malpractice actions.
 
Provides for the reporting of details of settlements of medical malpractice claims.
 
Allows juries to consider evidence of certain collateral source payments in medical malpractice actions.
 
Authorizes the bifurcation of issues of liability and damages in certain medical malpractice actions.
 
Signed by governor 6/30/09, Chapter 217
Relates to reporting and publication of medical judgments, awards, payments and settlements.
 
Authorizes the Department of Correction to provide medical liability insurance for its employees and contractual service providers.
 
Permits introduction of evidence regarding defendants' insurance coverage for liability in any civil action.
 
Signed by governor 8/7/09, Chapter 435
Provides that a nonprofit community health referral service that refers low-income patients to physicians for free services is not liable for the acts or omission of the physician in rendering service to that patient, if the physician maintains professional liability coverage for that service.
 
Provides the public greater access to emergency medical care by providing limited protection from liability to those providing emergency medical care.
 
Allows for bifurcation of issues of liability and damages in medical malpractice actions.
 
Limits the amount of damages that may be awarded in civil actions against health care providers for health care liability claims, otherwise reforms health care liability, and makes conforming changes.
North Dakota
Signed by governor 4/8/09
Relates to extension of time for serving an expert opinion affidavit in medical liability actions.
 
Failed to pass House 2/19/09
Relates to the definition of non-economic damages; and repeals §32-42-02 of the North Dakota Century Code, relating to non-economic damages in health care malpractice actions.
 
Failed to pass Senate 2/10/09
Relates to disbursements taxed in judgment when a physician is found negligent in a medical malpractice trial but no autopsy is performed.
 
Signed by governor 4/9/09
Relates to the admissibility of peer review reports; and amends and reenacts §§23-34-01, 23-34-02, 23-34-03, 23-34-04, and 23-34-06 of the North Dakota Century Code, relating to peer review records and reports.
Ohio
Grants qualified civil immunity to a physician who provides emergency medical services, first-aid treatment, or other emergency professional care in compliance with the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act or as a result of a disaster.
Oklahoma
H.B. 1307
Vetoed by governor 5/22/09
Provides that any physician providing medical services at an amateur or professional athletic event sanctioned pursuant to the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission Act who is a ring official at the event and renders or attempts to render emergency care to an injured participant who is in need of immediate medical aid shall not be liable for damages as a result of any acts or omissions except for committing gross negligence or willful or wanton negligence in rendering the emergency care.
 
Signed by governor 5/22/09, Chapter 247
Expands the class of persons eligible for the special volunteer medical license; amends Section 34, Chapter 368, O.S.L. 2004 (76 O.S. Supp. 2008, Section 32), which relates to the Volunteer Medical Professional Services Immunity Act; eliminates certain requirements; specifies certain licensing covered by act.
 
H.B. 1516
Directs certain information to be placed on a prescription label in certain circumstance; requires certain persons to provide specified information; provides exceptions; provides that the failure to provide the symptom or purpose for which the drug is prescribed on the label shall not be admissible evidence of malpractice in litigation.
 
H.B. 1570
Vetoed by governor 4/27/09
Requires that a certain affidavit be attached to a petition in any civil action for professional negligence; provides requirements for affidavit; provides consequences if action is filed without affidavit; authorizes extension of time to file affidavit; provides consequences if affidavit is not filed during extension period; requires plaintiff to provide certain information to defendant; provides consequences if plaintiff fails to comply.
 
Signed by governor 5/21/09, Chapter 228
Relates to civil procedure; requires appointment of attorney for specified purpose; provides for award of certain fees; requires plaintiff to attach certain affidavit in civil action for negligence; amends Section 7, Chapter 390, O.S.L. 2003 (63 O.S. Supp. 2008, §1-1708.1 G), which relates to prejudgment interest for medical liability actions; provides time that prejudgment interest accrues; amends 63 O.S. 2001, §1-1709.1, as last amended by Section 2, Chapter 558, O.S.L. 2004 (63 O.S. Supp. 2008, §1-1709.1), which relates to peer review information; provides that certain information is not subject to discovery or admissible at trial; requires certain findings for certain information to be admissible; creates the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act; repeals Section 6, Chapter 390, O.S.L. 2003, as amended by Section 21, Chapter 368, O.S.L. 2004 and Section 22, Chapter 368, O.S.L. 2004 (63 O.S. Supp. 2008, §§1-1708.1 F and 1-1708.1 F-1), which relate to limits on noneconomic damages in medical liability actions.
 
H.B. 1658
Provides that any physician or health care provider providing medical services at a secondary school athletic event in this state who renders or attempts to render emergency care to an injured participant who is in need of immediate medical aid shall not be liable for damages as a result of any acts or omissions except for committing gross negligence or willful or wanton negligence in rendering the emergency care.
 
Signed by governor 5/22/09, Chapter 255
Amends Section 34, Chapter 368, O.S.L. 2004 (76 O.S. Supp. 2008, Section 32), which relates to the Volunteer Medical Professional Services Immunity Act; modifies definition; expands scope of certain circumstances in which certain persons are immune from liability; specifies application; provides for certain immunity from liability for certain entities; specifies application.
 
H.B. 1927
Amends Section 34, Chapter 368, O.S.L. 2004 (76 O.S. Supp. 2008, Section 32), which relates to the Volunteer Medical Professional Services Immunity Act; expands scope of the act for actions filed on or after certain date.
 
Signed by governor 4/27/09, Chapter 106
Amends Section 34, Chapter 368, O.S.L. 2004 (76 O.S. Supp. 2008, Section 32), which relates to the Volunteer Medical Professional Services Immunity Act; expands scope of the act for actions filed on or after certain date.
 
Signed by governor 5/11/09, Chapter 176
Amends the Medical Professional Liability Insurance Closed Claim Reports Act; adds short title, modifies definitions, adds procedures, requirements, and penalties for closed claim reporting.
Oregon
Signed by governor 7/22/09, Chapter 756
Requires Oregon Health Licensing Agency to investigate complaint against health regulatory board licensee, applicant or other person alleged to be practicing in violation of law. Requires that public members of health professional licensing boards review investigatory material and report concerning complaint against licensee. Allows health professional regulatory board to obtain fingerprints for purpose of conducting criminal background checks on licensees seeking license renewal, applicants for license, board employees, volunteers or applicants for employment. Allows board to release or withhold personal electronic mail address, home address and personal telephone number for person licensed, registered or certified by board. Requires release of information if request for information is made for public health or state health planning purpose. Specifies that health professional regulatory board has continuing jurisdiction over person notwithstanding change in licensing status of person. Requires the director of Oregon Health Licensing Agency to prepare periodic reports regarding licensing, monitoring and investigative activities of agency and submit reports to governor. Standardizes and modifies certain provisions for membership and appointment of health professional regulatory boards, appointment of executive directors and reporting and auditing of certain board activities. Changes definitions, examination, education, licensing and record keeping provisions related to certain health regulatory boards.
 
Signed by governor 5/26/09, Chapter 131
Adds chiropractic physicians and State Board of Chiropractic Examiners to insurance provisions relating to notice of professional negligence claims to health professional regulatory boards and to subsequent actions of boards.
 
Directs the State Accident Insurance Fund Corporation to develop a recommended state medical malpractice insurance program to be administered by the corporation. Establishes a task force to report to the Legislative Assembly in 2010. Sunsets task force on date of convening of next regular biennial legislative session.
 
Signed by governor 6/25/09, Chapter 581
Removes requirement that certain health professional regulatory boards maintaining negligence claim websites delete reported claims of negligence filed against licensees if no other claims are filed within four years.
 
Prohibits commencement of a civil action against a health care provider until after submission of the health care claim to a medical legal panel. Establishes membership and procedures for the medical legal panels. Requires disclosure of the identity of expert witness and a summary of expert's opinion in health care claims. Provides that findings of the medical legal panels are not admissible in subsequent proceedings. Provides that costs of the medical legal panels are to be paid by surcharges on health care providers. Establishes the Medical Legal Panel Fund. Continuously appropriates moneys in fund to the Chief Justice of Supreme Court for payment of costs of medical legal panels.
 
Proposes an amendment to the Oregon Constitution to impose a limitation on noneconomic damages in claims against health care providers based on the provision of medical care or failure to provide medical care. Provides that limit is $1 million for claims arising in calendar year 2011. Provides for adjustment based on cost of living in subsequent calendar years.
 
Signed by governor 6/18/09, Chapter 396
Increases maximum civil penalty for acts committed by naturopathic physicians that are grounds for disciplinary action by Board of Naturopathic Examiners. Revises board's rulemaking authority.
 
Prohibits commencement of a civil action against a health care provider until after submission of the health care claim to a medical legal panel. Establishes membership and procedures for the medical legal panels. Requires disclosure of the identity of expert witness and a summary of expert's opinion in health care claims. Provides that findings of the medical legal panels are not admissible in subsequent proceedings. Provides that costs of the medical legal panels are to be paid by surcharges on health care providers. Establishes the Medical Legal Panel Fund. Continuously appropriates moneys in fund to the Chief Justice of Supreme Court for payment of costs of medical legal panels.
 
Proposes an amendment to the Oregon Constitution to limit awards of noneconomic damages in medical liability actions to $250,000.
 
Proposes an amendment to the Oregon Constitution to limit the liability of a physician to an amount payable under a policy of professional liability insurance if the policy provides coverage of at least $___ for each claim and $___ for all claims within one-year period.
 
Proposes an amendment to the Oregon Constitution to impose a limitation on noneconomic damages in claims against health care providers based on the provision of medical care or failure to provide medical care. Provides that the limit is $1 million for claims arising in calendar year 2011. Provides for adjustment based on cost of living in subsequent calendar years.
Pennsylvania
Signed by governor 6/10/09, Act 1
Establishes a system for payment or reduction in payment for preventable serious adverse events within this Commonwealth; develops bulletins; and provides for the powers and duties of the Department of Public Welfare, Department of Health and the Department of State.
 
Amends the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (Mcare) Act of 2002. Provides for limited liability for hospital care or assistance necessitated by traumatic injury immunity.
 
Amends Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, adds and changes definitions; further provides for the unified judicial system; establishes the appellate division of Medical Professional Liability Court; further provides for transfers between intermediate appellate courts, for lien of judgments for money, for direct appeals to the Supreme Court from courts of common pleas, for allowance of appeals from intermediate appellate courts, for appeals to Superior Court from courts of common pleas, for original jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Court and for appeals to the Commonwealth Court from courts of common pleas; provides for the jurisdiction of the appellate division of Medical Professional Liability Court and for the organization and jurisdiction of the Medical Professional Liability Court; establishes the Medical Professional Liability Court Qualifications Commission and prescribing its powers and duties; further provides for selection of judicial officers, for vacancies in judicial offices and for retention election of judicial officers; providing for selection and retention of judges of the Medical Professional Liability Court and for salaries of judges of the Medical Professional Liability Court; establishes the Medical Professional Liability Court Fund and provides for receipts and payments; and further provides for right to appellate review and for appeals generally.
 
Amends the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (Mcare) Act of 2002. Provides for limited damages in medical professional liability actions.
 
Proposes an amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, authorizing legislation to limit recovery of noneconomic and punitive damages in medical malpractice actions.
 
Amends the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (Mcare) Act of 2002. Further provides for medical professional liability insurance, for basic coverage limits, for Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund liability limits and for extended claims.
 
Amends the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (Mcare) Act of 2002. Provides an insurance premium for health care providers who implement, to the satisfaction of the Department of Health, a total quality management health care system approved by the Department of Health designed to reduce medical errors.
 
Requires an individual licensed to practice prosthetics, orthotics, pedorthics or orthotic fitting in this commonwealth to maintain a level of professional liability insurance coverage in the minimum amount of $1 million per occurrence or claims made and shall verify to the Board the required coverage. Failure to maintain insurance coverage as required shall subject the licensee to disciplinary proceedings.
 
Amends the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (Mcare) Act of 2002. Provides for declaration of policy, for patient safety definitions, for powers and duties of the Patient Safety Authority and for powers and duties of the Department of Health; and provides for whistleblower protection relating to medical errors.
 
Provides for certificates of merit in professional liability actions.
 
Further provides for medical professional liability insurance, for Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund and for actuarial data; and makes repeals.
 
Amends the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (Mcare) Act of 2002. Provides that health care providers may elect to insure or self-insure below the mandated amount.
 
Provides that payments to the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund may be divided into equal installments.
 

S.B. 216
Provides for certain immunity for hospitals that donate medicine, medical supplies and equipment in good faith for humanitarian assistance.

 
Amends the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (Mcare) Act of 2002. Provides for declaration of policy, for patient safety definitions, for powers and duties of the Patient Safety Authority and for powers and duties of the Department of Health; and provides for whistleblower protection relating to medical errors.
 
Passed Senate 3/25/09
Establishes a system for payment or reduction in payment for preventable serious adverse events within this Commonwealth; and provides for the powers and duties of the Department of Health and the Department of State.
 
Provides for medical professional liability insurance, for the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund; and in Health Care Provider Retention Program, establishes the Health Care Provider Rate Stabilization Fund.
 
Amends the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (Mcare) Act of 2002. Provides for abatement programs, for procedure and for expiration.
 
Amends Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in arbitration, further providing for validity of agreement to arbitrate, for common law arbitration and for compulsory arbitration.
 
Further provides for medical professional liability insurance, for Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund and for actuarial data; and makes repeals.
 

S.B. 1174
Establishes the Mcare Commission.

Puerto Rico

H.B. 241
Orders the Court Medical Examiner to publish official announcements of identity and the results of the resolutions of final orders and result of any refusal, revocation or cancellation and/or disciplinary action, censure or suspension made permanent or temporary against any doctor in the practice of medicine for acts or omissions that constitute professional medical malpractice manifesting incompetence in the performance of the profession or unprofessional conduct.

 
H.B. 1197
Amends the Insurance Code of Puerto Rico; limits liability for medical and hospital malpractice of any health professional providing medical services in hospital-owned medical facilities of Puerto Rico, regardless whether that institution is being managed or operated by a private company.
 
H.B. 1797
Provides for the Board of Medical Licensing and Discipline of Puerto Rico to establish and maintain a public database to give notice to patients about the potential awards in malpractice cases against doctors in Puerto Rico.
 

H.B. 2114
Amends the Internal Revenue Code, the Law Regulating International Banking, and the Insurance Code; relates to taxation of financial services, insurance, movable property rental, and related services companies; relates to taxation of and tax exemptions for medical malpractice and compulsory motor vehicle joint underwriting associations, insurance holding companies and surplus lines insurers.

 

H.R. 932
Passed House 11/2/09
Requires the Health Committee of the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico to conduct a thorough investigation on the fulfillment of the responsibilities and duties, of the Department of Health Law for the posting of the Minister of Health; relates to the process of establishment and designation of trauma centers and stabilization, the development or advancement of legislation; extends or strengthens medical malpractice coverage.

 

S.B. 262
Passed Senate 8/31/09
Amends the Rules of Civil Procedure; provides that, in those cases which are of high public interest or a compelling state interest, including medical malpractice claims, stipulations for nondisclosure are prohibited unless they occur as part of the motion of withdrawal and a copy of the settlement agreement is signed by the parties to become part of the public record.

 
S.B. 306
Passed Senate 6/9/09
Amends existing law to include the Academic Medical Center of Puerto Rico within the limits of liability for malpractice, including hospital doctor malpractice, which is subject to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
 

S.B. 357
Passed Senate 6/25/09
Amends Rule 41.6 of the current Civil Procedure, as amended, to establish that at the end of 45 days from filing a claim for medical negligence, the complaining party must submit a preliminary written of expert evidence that substantiates the allegation of medical or hospital negligence, or the appointment of the panel is rescinded.

 

S.B. 512
Passed Senate 8/31/09
Amends existing law to extend blanket immunity to government employees who provide medical services and hospital units of the government; exempts from liability in damages to employees under existing law to provide first aid as well as those under the Law for the installation of a defibrillator in agencies, corporations, public instrumentalities and facilities of the towns or in places where services are rendered to the public as defined by law.

 
S.B. 779
Amends the Insurance Code of Puerto Rico to include the Corporation of the Cardiovascular Center of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean within the limits of liability for medical and hospital malpractice which is subject to the State Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico.
 

S.B. 1141
Amends the Insurance Code; clarifies the language regarding the exemption that protects all professionals providing health services to employees, contractors or consultants of the Hospital of Dr. Ramon E. Betances Mayaguez Medical Center including dependencies when used as a defendant in a civil action to claim damages caused by fault or negligence due to professional malpractice as a result of discharging their duties and functions in said hospital facilities.

 

S.B. 1236
Amends the Insurance Code of Puerto Rico by amending certain aspects of professional and institutional responsibility in the practice of medicine in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

 
S.R. 18
Adopted 1/26/09
Orders the Commission on Health, Welfare and Women Affairs and Municipal Affairs to conduct an investigation to evaluate the reasonability of the cost of medical liability insurance in Puerto Rico; investigates the possibility of sound legislation to pay a financial limit in cases of damages for malpractice of medicine.
 
S.R. 128
Adopted 4/14/09
Orders the Health Commission to conduct an investigation on laws governing the cases related to medical malpractice; determines the impact on the provision of health services by the court sentences against doctors and health professionals; provides recommendations on the need and desirability of introducing new legislation; provides they have immunity; provides for amendments to the Insurance Act of Professional Medical Hospital to address this issue.
Rhode Island
Grants immunity from liability for gratuitous emergency assistance to state-licensed and federally-credentialed physician assistants, and allows physician assistants to participate in disaster and emergency care with any available physician supervision or without physician supervision if none is available.
 
Makes various changes affecting civil procedure including reduction of periods of limitation, reduction of prejudgment interest and makes statements by healthcare provider inadmissible as evidence.
 
Passed House 5/21/09
Requires a list of all settlements or judgments against all licensed health care professionals and nursing homes be reported to the director of health. Provides parameters within which the director of health may establish regulations for malpractice minimums.
 
Requires in the case of settlements and judgments, an itemized list of the award stating an amount for economic damages, noneconomic damages, medical expense and interest accrued, in reports relating to professional conduct.
 
Requires the Department of Health to provide an analysis of medical malpractice insurance rates and to recommend improvements to the Legislature.
 
Removes the allowance for “graduate practice” status for physician assistants, grants immunity from liability for gratuitous emergency assistance to state-licensed and federally-credentialed physician assistants, and allows physician assistants to participate in disaster and emergency care with any available physician supervision or without physician supervision if none is available.
 
Makes various changes affecting civil procedure including reduction of periods of limitation, reduction of prejudgment interest and makes statements by healthcare provider inadmissible as evidence.
 
Requires a list of all settlements or judgments against all licensed health care professionals be reported to the director of health. Provides parameters within which the director of health may establish regulations for malpractice minimums.
South Carolina
Passed Senate 5/7/09
Amends §38-79-30, Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, relating to medical malpractice insurance so as to provide that a licensed health care provider who renders medical services voluntarily and without compensation, and seeks no reimbursement from charitable and governmental sources, and provides notice to the patient or patient's provider in a non-emergency, is not liable for any civil damages for any act or omission unless the act or omission was the result of the health care provider's gross negligence or willful misconduct.
 
Enacts the "Physician Transparency Act" so as to require physicians seeking licensure to submit information pertaining to, among other things, prior licenses held, disciplinary action taken against the physician, any agreement to temporarily cease or restrict the physician's practice of medicine, actions affecting clinical privileges, criminal convictions, and final judgments or settlements resulting from a malpractice action; requires the Board of Medical Examiners to make this information and types of complaints filed against a physician available to the public on the Board's Web site; provides that failure to provide this information or providing false information is considered misconduct and the board may not issue, renew, or reinstate the license of the physician; provides that all hearings before the board regarding complaints against physicians must be open to the public, that hearing schedules must be posted on the Board's Web site, that a complainant has the right to make a public statement in a hearing before the board, and that the board shall inform a complainant of these rights.
South Dakota
Signed by governor 3/30/09, Chapter 167
Establishes certain immunity for volunteers of the statewide emergency registry of volunteers for South Dakota program.
 
Clarifies certain rules of evidence to determine the value of services for which special damages may be awarded in health care malpractice cases.
Tennessee
Changes the term for medical malpractice lawsuits to "health care liability action." A health care liability action would include any lawsuit alleging injury related to the provision or failure to provide health care services, which names as a defendant a health care provider, health care facility, or employee of a health care provider. This bill specifies that victims of medical malpractice may be awarded damages for noneconomic losses, but such damages would be limited to $250,000 against all health care providers who are defendants and $250,000 against all health care facilities that are defendants. The maximum aggregate amount of noneconomic damages that a plaintiff could recover would be $500,000, and the $500,000 limit would apply in the aggregate to all claims arising from the same injury, regardless of the number of claims, claimants, plaintiffs, or beneficiaries. Under this bill, punitive damages would be considered noneconomic damages. This bill authorizes the trial court in a medical malpractice case, at the request of either party, to enter a judgment ordering that money damages or its equivalent for future damages be paid in whole or in part by periodic payments rather than by a lump-sum payment if the award equals or exceeds $75,000 in future damages. Periodic payments for future damages would only be subject to modification in the event of the death of the victim. Money damages awarded would not be reduced or payments terminated by reason of the death of the victim, but would be paid to persons to whom the victim owed a duty of support immediately prior to the victim's death. This bill does not prohibit the parties to a health care liability action, in a settlement, from agreeing to the satisfaction of the award by future periodic payments subject to court approval. This bill limits the bond that a health care provider is required to post to stay execution of a judgment pending appeal to a maximum of $1,000,000. This bill sets four limitation ranges on the amount of attorney's fees that may be awarded in medical malpractice cases. Rather than limiting the amount to 33 1/3 percent, the amount of attorney's fees would not exceed: (1) 40 percent of the first $50,000 of damages recovered; (2) 33 1/3 percent of the next $50,000 recovered; (3) 25 percent of the next $500,000 recovered; and (4) 15 percent of any amount on which the recovery exceeds $600,000. Under present law, in order for a health care professional to testify in a medical malpractice case regarding the applicable standard of care and whether the defendant's deviation from the standard of care was the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injury, the professional must be licensed to practice in this state or a contiguous bordering state in a profession or specialty that makes the person's expert testimony relevant to the issues in the case and must have practiced this profession or specialty in one of these states during the year preceding the date that the alleged injury or wrongful act occurred. This bill adds that in order to testify as described above the professional must be licensed in the same specialty as the defendant for purposes of testifying to the standard of care in the specialty and the existence of a deviation from the standard of care. This bill requires the plaintiff in a health care liability action to state a demand for a specific sum, which would not be disclosed to the jury during the trial. This bill also specifies that in any health care liability case where the award of damages exceeds the sum demanded in the complaint, the plaintiff's attorney would not be liable for legal malpractice solely because of the judgment exceeding the demand, unless the attorney acted fraudulently or engaged in willful misconduct with regard to making the demand. This bill requires the plaintiff in any professional negligence action against a health care provider to file contemporaneously with the complaint a HIPPA-compliant medical release that will allow the defendant's attorney to obtain all health care information, including mental health and drug and alcohol treatment records, pertaining to the plaintiff.
 
Substituted 3/30/09
Signed by governor 4/9/09, Public Chapter 48
The Health Care Consumer Right-to-Know Act of 1998 requires each health care provider to provide certain information to be compiled into provider profiles by the Department of Health. Such information includes any medical malpractice court judgment or arbitration award or settlement of a medical malpractice claim in which a payment is awarded or made to a complaining party if the judgment, award, or settlement is in an amount over a specified limit. The Act requires each provider to update the information provided in writing by notifying the Department within 30 days after a reportable event. With respect to the information described above regarding medical malpractice claims, this bill specifies that the Department will accept information updating licensed physicians' profiles if the information is received from either a physician or the medical malpractice insurance carrier of a physician and the carrier attests. If the information is submitted by the carrier, the carrier must attest, in writing, that it is the physician's medical malpractice carrier that has made the payment and that the carrier has confirmed in writing to the physician that the information has been reported to the department to update the physician's profile.
 
Provides that immunity from civil liability for health care professionals volunteering without compensation at free clinics still extends to such volunteers when the clinic accepts a contribution for the services.
 

H.B. 660
S.B. 321
Makes it a violation of the Consumer Protection Act and grounds for a penalty to be imposed against an insurance entity by the commissioner of commerce and insurance for intentionally failing to pay a medical claim for personal injuries until the statute of limitations has run on personal tort actions.

 
Enables the Board of Medical Examiners to appoint on a case-by-case basis an independent oversight committee to review any adverse action taken by a medical peer review committee against a licensed physician; requires the Department of Health, through the Board of Medical Examiners, to establish and maintain a statewide database containing information pertaining to any adverse action taken by a medical peer review committee against a physician licensed to practice in Tennessee.
 
H.B. 1453
Passed House 5/26/09
Provides that court-approved attorney fees in medical malpractice case are conclusively presumed to be reasonable in any subsequent action before the board of professional responsibility based on a complaint concerning the amount or reasonableness of the attorney fees.
 
Substituted 5/14/09
Signed by governor 7/1/09, Public Chapter 581
Exempts persons licensed by the board of any of the professions of healing arts from liability for civil damages resulting from the delivery of health services for a nominal charge.
 
Specifies that a hospital or an affiliate of a hospital is not liable for civil damages as a result of an act or omission by a physician who is not an employee of the hospital if the hospital provides notice that the physician is an independent contractor. The notice required must be posted conspicuously in all admitting areas of the hospital and must be in substantially the following form as specified in this bill. This bill does not preclude liability for civil damages that are the proximate result of the hospital's negligence or intentional misconduct.
 
Permits physicians to perform medical care services at certain free health clinics and receive liability protection if the clinic charges patients fees at a level approved by the commissioner of Health.
 
Signed by governor 6/11/09, Public Chapter 425
Substituted 6/4/09
Adds the necessity of showing by clear and convincing evidence to the extraordinary good cause needed for a court to excuse noncompliance with certain requirements for medical malpractice filings.
Texas
Signed by governor 6/19/09, Chapter 607
Amends the Occupations Code to require the Texas Medical Board to remove any record of a formal complaint in the annual update of a physician's profile if the complaint was dismissed more than five years before the date of the update and the complaint was dismissed as baseless, unfounded, or not supported by sufficient evidence, or no action was taken against the physician's license as a result of the complaint. The bill requires the board to remove any record of the investigation of medical malpractice claims or complaints if the investigation was resolved more than five years before the date of the update and no action was taken against the physician's license as a result of the investigation.
 
Amends the Civil Practice and Remedies Code to provide that a claimant in a health care liability claim is required, not later than the 120th day after the date each defendant's original answer is filed, to serve on that party or the party's attorney one or more expert reports, with the curriculum vitae of each expert listed in the report, rather than requiring the claimant to serve such report on each party not later than the 120th day after the date the original petition was filed. The bill changes the date by which each defendant physician or health care provider whose conduct is implicated in a report is required to file and serve any objection to the sufficiency of the report from not later than the 21st day after the date the report was served to not later than the later of the 21st day after the date the report is served or the 21st day after the defendant's answer is filed. The bill requires an objection to the sufficiency of an expert report to clearly state the specific elements of the report that are alleged to be deficient. The bill requires an objection that is conclusory or that fails to state the specific elements of the report that are alleged to be deficient to be overruled, and establishes that any deficiency in the report is considered waived. Establishes that an expert report served by a health care liability claimant does not limit a party to allegations or opinions expressed in the report, subject to certain waiver provisions. Authorizes a claimant, notwithstanding provisions staying discovery in a health care liability claim until a claimant has served the required expert reports and curricula vitae, to proceed with discovery if the citation has been served on the defendant but the defendant has not answered in a timely manner or if the claimant has made a reasonable effort to serve the expert report on the defendant in the manner provided by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure but service has failed.
 
Relates to limitation of liability for certain emergency care provided during a declared disaster.
 
Relates to the standard of proof in health care liability claims involving emergency care.
 
Relates to depositions of witnesses in a health care liability claim.
 
Relates to availability of professional liability insurance under a self-insurance trust for health care.
Utah
Signed by governor 3/24/09, Chapter 192
Amends the Health Care Providers Immunity from Liability Act. This bill: makes technical amendments; amends the definition of health care provider; and amends the definition of remuneration to clarify that a charitable contribution is not considered payment to the facility.
 
Signed by governor 3/11/09, Chapter 14
Amends the standard of proof necessary for a malpractice claim in an emergency room. This bill: defines terms; establishes a standard of proof of clear and convincing evidence for malpractice actions based on emergency care received in an emergency room; and sunsets the clear and convincing standard of proof on July 1, 2013.
Vermont
Establishes screening panels for medical injury claims.
 
Proposes to establish a no-fault compensation system for medical injury claims based upon the one which New Zealand instituted in 1974 to replace its litigation-based medical malpractice system. The bill creates a fund from which persons who suffered medical injuries would be compensated, regardless of fault on the part of the provider. The fund would offer more timely compensation to a greater number of injured patients and more effective processes for complaint resolution and provider accountability.
 
Establishes screening panels for medical injury claims.
Virginia
Stricken from docket 1/29/09
Provides that, upon receipt of a complaint regarding an emergency medical services provider, the Commissioner of Health shall provide a copy of the complaint to the provider who is the subject of the complaint and shall inform the emergency medical services provider who is the subject of the complaint of the complaint investigation procedure, the hearing process set forth in the Administrative Process Act, and of the emergency medical services provider's right to be represented by counsel. This bill further provides that no emergency medical services personnel provider shall be interviewed as part of the investigation process until such time as the requirements have been met, and that failure to comply with the requirements shall entitle the emergency medical services provider to recover damages in the amount of $25,000 plus all reasonable costs and attorney fees.
 
Passed by indefinitely 2/9/09
Raises the total amount recoverable in certain medical malpractice actions to $2,750,000 on July 1, 2009. Such amount recoverable increases on July 1 each year by the annual percent change in the medical care component of the most recent publication of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, or by any replacement index adopted by the Department of Labor for medical costs.
 
Provides that on and after July 1, 2009, a health care provider's personal liability is limited to $2 million for any injury to, or death of, a patient, and any amount due from a judgment or verdict in excess of $2 million shall be paid from the Patient's Compensation Fund. The bill provides that the Fund is financed through fees levied upon health care providers and collected by the health regulatory boards. The assets of the fund shall be used solely to pay that portion of the amount due from a malpractice judgment, settlement, or verdict in excess of $2 million and to administer the Patients' Compensation Program, which is governed by a board of directors whose appointments are prescribed in the bill and who manage and operate the Fund.
Washington
Enacts the uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act.
 
Provides that in an arbitration proceeding or a court of law in an action under tort, health care providers' billing statements for treatment provided to a patient are presumed to reflect the reasonable value of health care treatment and are admissible in evidence to establish that the charges are reasonable and customary charges in the community.
 
Exempts persons who seek medical assistance for a person suffering from a drug-related overdose from prosecution for possession of a controlled substance. Exempts persons who experience a drug-related overdose from prosecution for drug possession where the evidence was obtained as a result of the overdose and the need for medical assistance. Authorizes any person to administer, dispense, prescribe, purchase, acquire, possess, or use Naloxone, given the fulfillment of certain requirements. Authorizes any person to administer Naloxone to a qualifying third party.
West Virginia
Prohibits the performance of any abortion by any person who has admitted to or who has been adjudicated to have committed medical malpractice.
 
Passed Senate 4/1/09
Relates to the liability of physicians, osteopathic physicians, nurses, medical students and graduate medical students who render services as volunteer health care providers at youth camps and programs; limits liability; and provides exceptions.
Wisconsin
Removes the requirement that a person must serve the notice of a claim for medical malpractice on the attorney general or on a volunteer fire company, political corporation, or governmental subdivision and its officers, employees, or agents within 180 days after the injury. Instead, the bill requires a person who was injured as the result of the medical malpractice to commence that action within the same time period that is required when the claim is against a private health care provider. Raises the limit on the amount that may be recovered in a civil action against local governments, political corporations, and volunteer fire companies and their officers, agents, or employees to the amount allowed against state officers, agents, or employees, $250,000, if the action was related to the provision of health care services, the local government, political corporation, or volunteer fire company provided the health care services, and the officer, agent, or employee who provided the health care services was acting within the scope of his or her duties.
 

A.B. 291
Provides that a parent does have the right to recover for loss of society and companionship if the parent’s adult child is injured as the result of medical malpractice. Provides that an adult child does have the right to recover for loss of society and companionship if the adult child’s parent dies as the result of medical malpractice.

 

S.B. 80
Signed by governor 12/1/09, Act 93
Currently, under the Volunteer Health Care Provider Program (program), the state indemnifies certain health care providers who provide health care services for a nonprofit agency or elementary school free of charge or, in the case of some dental service, for a discounted fee. In order to serve as a volunteer health care provider under the program, a person must submit a joint application with a nonprofit agency or elementary school, and the Department of Administration must approve the application. If volunteering for a nonprofit agency, the agency must primarily serve low-income people. The following people may become volunteer health care providers under the program: physicians, dentists, dental hygienists, registered nurses, practical nurses, nurse-midwifes, optometrists, physician assistants, pharmacists, dieticians, nurse practitioners, and pharmacy technicians. If a claim is brought against a volunteer health care provider for acts or omissions committed in the course of providing health care services under the program, the state must provide or pay for legal representation for the volunteer health care provider and must pay damages and costs awarded against the volunteer health care provider to the extent that legal representation, damages, and costs are not covered by any applicable insurance. This bill requires the state to provide or pay for legal representation and pay damages and costs awarded against a volunteer health care provider in connection with a claim arising against the volunteer health care provider for acts or omissions committed in the course of providing volunteer health care services under the program, regardless of whether any applicable insurance covers the costs of legal representation, damages, or costs. The bill also allows chiropractors and physical therapists to become volunteer health care providers under the program.

 
Removes the requirement that a person must serve the notice of a claim for medical malpractice on the attorney general or on a volunteer fire company, political corporation, or governmental subdivision and its officers, employees, or agents within 180 days after the injury. Instead, the bill requires a person who was injured as the result of the medical malpractice to commence that action within the same time period that is required when the claim is against a private health care provider. Raises the limit on the amount that may be recovered in a civil action against local governments, political corporations, and volunteer fire companies and their officers, agents, or employees to the amount allowed against state officers, agents, or employees, $250,000, if the action was related to the provision of health care services, the local government, political corporation, or volunteer fire company provided the health care services, and the officer, agent, or employee who provided the health care services was acting within the scope of his or her duties.
 
Under current law, certain health care providers, including physicians, first responders, and dentists, who render voluntary health care to a participant in an athletic event or contest at a school are immune from civil liability for their acts or omissions. The immunity applies only if certain conditions are met, including that the health care is rendered at the site of event or contest and that there is no compensation paid to the health care provider. This bill adds podiatrists to those who are immune from civil liability for their acts or omissions while rendering voluntary health care to a participant in an athletic event or contest at a school.
 
Provides that a parent does have the right to recover for loss of society and companionship if the parent’s adult child is injured as the result of medical malpractice. Provides that an adult child does have the right to recover for loss of society and companionship if the adult child’s parent dies as the result of medical malpractice.
Wyoming
Signed by governor 3/11/09, Chapter 177
Relates to the National Guard; creates the Wyoming National Guard medical professional retention program; provides a malpractice insurance premium reimbursement for National Guard medical professionals as specified; provides restrictions; provides conditions for repayment of assistance received.
 
Proposes to amend the Wyoming Constitution to modify, in health care provider cases, the general prohibition against the Legislature limiting the amount of damages that may be recovered for causing personal injury or death of any person.