Thursday, December 6, 2018
Puerto Rico's governor signed a law creating 13 panels composed of 3 people--including a health expert, a public advocate, and a lawyer or former judge--to review medical malpractice claims. Claimants, with an exclusion for the indigent, will be required to post a bond-like payment with the panel. If the panel finds evidence of malpractice, the money will be returned. The governor hopes it will stem the exodus of doctors from Puerto Rico; of the approximately 1,000 claims each year, 900 are dismissed.
The exodus from Puerto Rico is widespread, and is largely caused by a weak economy and damage from recent hurricanes. There are better ways to handle a number of weak claims than adding another layer of delay for all claims, including the good ones. (It is important to remember that studies also suggest a large number of valid claims are never filed.) For example, a certificate of merit requirement is more relevant handling the precise problem.
The Province has details.