HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Three Strikes Law in Florida for Doctors

Is this the answer to the quality of care concern that we all share? 

The ABA Journal has an interesting article concerning Florida's new Amendment 8.   The amendent, dubbed the "three strikes, you’re out" amendment, passed by 71 percent of the popular vote on Nov. 2.   The amendment provides that a doctor found guilty of three or more medical malpractice incidents loses his or her license to practice in Florida. 

The amendment, Section 20 to Article X of the Florida Constitution, reads:

No person who has been found to have committed three or more incidents of medical malpractice shall be licensed or continue to be licensed by the State of Florida to provide health care services as a medical doctor.

  1. For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
    1. The phrase "medical malpractice" means both the failure to practice medicine in Florida with that level of care, skill and treatment recognized in general law related to health care providers’ licensure, and any similar wrongful act, neglect or default in other states or countries which, if committed in Florida, would have been considered medical malpractice.
    2. The phrase "found to have committed" means that the malpractice has been found in a final judgment of a court of law, final administrative agency decision, or decision of binding arbitration."

Although the amendment becomes law on passage, many unanswered questions exist about its effectiveness.  The ABA article reports that the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, supporters of the amendment, supported the amendment based on a desire to protect patients from bad doctors.   They cite statistics showing that 6 percent of Florida doctors are responsible for most of the medical malpractice claims.  On the other side, the article further reports that some doctors and lawyers predict that the amendment will create incentives for attorneys to file medical malpractice claims, leading to an increase in frivolous litigation.

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