Physicians’ Predictions Come True: Lawsuit Abuse Reforms Work

What physicians have been maintaining for decades is proving true: lawsuit abuse reforms do work. The latest findings from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) show a 43.4 percent decline from the “base years” of 2000 to 2002. Specifically, the AOPC credits the elimination of venue shopping and requiring a certificate of merit.

In response to these findings, Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) President Bruce A. MacLeod, MD, said in a recent statement, “Despite a slight uptick in the number of 2013 medical malpractice filings, lawsuit abuse reforms that were adopted in 2002 appear to be having a positive impact to weed out meritless lawsuits.”

PAMED led the fight for these changes, and we applaud the legislators and other stakeholders who helped us achieve them. But more needs to be done. For example:

  • The certificate of merit Supreme Court rule needs strengthened.
  • A bill needs passed (House Bill 804) to require clear and convincing evidence of gross negligence to find liability in emergency care.

PAMED continues to strongly advocate for these changes to ensure access to care, especially considering the physician workforce issues that are making daily headlines since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Read more on what PAMED has done to improve tort reform in Pennsylvania, addressing major physician concerns, as well as our ongoing, robust tort reform agenda.