March 6, 2007
Med Mal Compromise in the Works in Tennessee?
That's what a Nashville Post story suggests. The lede:
March may come in like a lion and out like a lamb, or vice-versa, but who would have guessed that March 2007 might be the month when the lion would lie down with the lamb?
That's what may be afoot, as a nationally unprecedented concord among medical providers and the legal profession comes together — just maybe — to bring a brand-new model of malpractice litigation reform to Tennessee.
The reforms do not include any caps on damages, instead featuring pre-filing certification, a narrowing of disclosure requirements for past suits against physicians, broader access to physicians by both sides in litigation, locality rule changes, and an extension of a data-gathering process.
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It seems like the major proposal is the good faith certification. However, the way that it is set up, it seems that all they have to do is find a compliant doctor to sign off on the case. I'm not sure how this will actually help weed out the cases. On the other hand, it is better than simply putting caps on the damages and calling it a day.
I would be curious to see what the effect is in five years if they do adopt the agreement as it stands now.
Posted by: Bill | Mar 6, 2007 2:32:06 PM
I was the plaintiff's lawyer involved in the negotiations. The Good Faith Certificiate mandated financial sanctions against lawyers who did not submit certificates in good faith. It was, I submit, the best such provision in the country because it did not simply require a doctor to sign off on the case - many times that simply results in a doc doing so for $500 - 1000. Then again, I am biased because I was the original drafter of the provision.
The provision also required lawyers for doctors who blame other providers to sign a similar certification.
Unfortunately, the compromise fell apart when the doctors backed out. Docs want caps here, no ifs, ands or buts. This despite that fact that (a) patients won 6 med mal cases before juries in the entire state in 2004; (b) patients won only 5 cases in 2005; and (c) the bedpan mutual insurance company which insures over 8000 docs has only had 6 verdicts over $1M against it from 2000 - 2005.
Posted by: John Day | Mar 9, 2007 3:17:25 AM