Governor Bush Unveils Medical
Medical Liability Special Session
scheduled June 16-19
May 28, 2003
Source: Executive Office of the Governor
Governor Jeb Bush today unveiled a medical liability
reform package that would solve Florida’s current health care crisis,
bring doctors back to work and ensure that every Floridian has access to
quality health care. Based on the Governor’s Task Force Report, the
bill includes wide-ranging legal and insurance reforms as well as
changes to the physician discipline system, and would roll back
malpractice insurance rates by 20 percent. The Governor, who was joined
at the press conference today by U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona,
also called the Legislature back for a special session to address this
issue June 16-19.
“For months Florida has been on the verge of a
massive health care crisis. Doctors are leaving our state. Hospitals are
closing needed services. Patients can’t get basic health care. We
cannot stand by and watch. We must fix this problem, and this proposal
is the solution. It strengthens quality of care, provides insurance rate
rollbacks and reforms the legal process,” said Governor Bush. “The
people who save lives support this proposal, and the Florida Legislature
should too. I look forward to working with them in the special session
to ensure that in 2003 every Florida citizen has medical care.”
The proposal would increase quality of care through
reforms in the physician discipline system, would provide more certainty
in legal disputes by encouraging cases to be resolved outside the
courtroom and capping non-economic damages, and would provide for a 20
percent rate rollback on insurance through so-called bad faith reform.
Included in the proposal:
QUALITY OF CARE:
Strengthens the internal risk management programs
of hospitals by requiring the hospital and physicians to report
adverse incidents to patients.
Gives the Board of Medicine more authority over
standard of care issues, and changes the standard of evidence from
clear and convincing to greater weight of the evidence, making it
easier for the Board of Medicine to perform their disciplinary
Requires all health care facilities to have a
patient safety plan and creates patient safety instruction
requirements at the medical school level.
Requires AHCA to study the types of information the
public might need to know in the selection of physicians and
Does not limit economic damages, but provides a
$250,000 cap on non-economic damages.
Creates sovereign immunity for doctors and
hospitals that provide emergency care in accordance with federal and
state requirements that force them to do so.
Encourages voluntary binding arbitration, so more
cases will be handled outside the backlogged court system. It also
requires mandatory mediation.
Reforms bad faith provisions and lets insurance
companies make settlement offers once they have all the information
they need to make a reasonable decision.
Requires reporting of claims to the Department of
Insurance so we can have better data.
Permits doctors to self-insure, so they don’t
necessarily have to rely on insurance companies.
Governor Bush appointed a task force of University
leaders last fall to make recommendations on how to solve Florida’s
medical malpractice crisis. The task force met with patients, providers
and a broad array of Floridians impacted. The task force delivered 60
recommendations that served as the basis for Governor Bush’s proposals
to the Legislature.
Among those joining the Governor at the press
conference were Secretary for the Agency for Health Care Administration
Rhonda Medows and Florida Department of Health Secretary John Agwunobi.
516 North Adams Street ● Post Office Box 784 ● Tallahassee, Florida 32302-0784 ● Phone: (850) 224-7173 ● Fax: (850) 224-6532 ● www.aif.com