Bill would replace med-mal system
3:05 pm, February 8th, 2013
A measure introduced in the Georgia Senate aims to scrap the state’s medical malpractice system and replace it with an administrative procedure for malpractice compensation.
The legislation, Senate Bill 141, would shrink health costs and reduce the necessity for doctors to practice defensive medicine, according to Alpharetta-based Patients for Fair Compensation, a group of healthcare executives that supports the proposal.
The measure calls for doing away with the adversarial tort system and replacing it with a process by which a harmed patient could file a claim for review by an independent panel of medical experts, according to Patients for Fair Compensation. If “avoidable harm” occurred, the claim would be forwarded to a compensation board for an award.
“Our healthcare system could use some drastic relief,” said the group’s executive director, Wayne Oliver. “Georgia could actually be a national model on how to not only protect patients but bring down healthcare spending.”
The Georgia Trial Lawyers Association has been skeptical of the plan.
“In the current political environment, we don’t believe a big government healthcare proposal in place of the constitutional right to trial by jury will fly,” GTLA lobbyist William Clark told the Daily Report last year.
Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, introduced the legislation, called the Patient Injury Act. The bill was not immediately online.