York County Medicine Spring 2020 - 28

YO R K C O M E D S O C . O R G

IN THE NEWS:

PA Legislative Agency Releases Study
on Impact of Venue for Medical Liability
Last Updated: Feb 5, 2020

A

Senate resolution passed in February 2019 directed the
Pa. Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC)
to study the impact of venue for medical professional
liability actions. The LBFC's study was released on Feb. 3, 2020.
The state's current venue rule, in effect since 2003, provides
that a medical professional liability action may be brought against
a health care provider only in the county in which the cause of
action arose. The current rule was implemented as one part of the
state's medical liability tort reforms in 2002-2003.
The Pa. Supreme Court's Civil Procedural Rules Committee
is proposing a rule that would significantly expand potential
venues.
PAMED Reaction to the LBFC Venue Report
The Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform
(PCCJR), of which The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED)
is a founding member, strongly opposes any change to the
current medical liability venue rule. While the group is still
analyzing the report, its preliminary review finds that the LBFC
report does not support efforts to change the current rule.

* The number of medical malpractice filings has decreased by
44.9 percent between the period of 2000-2002 and 20152017.

"A return to old rules would have profound, real-world
consequences on the delivery of health care in Pennsylvania,
including increased liability premiums for doctors and hospitals,
which in return will impact the availability of health care services
for people who need them," PCCJR and the coalition said in a
statement released on Feb. 3.

* LBFC was unable to reach a conclusion on the impact of
venue on patient access to health care. It noted that access
to care involves many different variables including health
insurance coverage and geographic locations.

Highlights from the Venue Report
The LBFC looked at venue from the time period of 1996
through 2018. The study did not reach a definitive conclusion on
the impact of the 2003 venue rule.
Report highlights include:
* The cost of medical professional liability insurance in Pa.
increased significantly from 1996 to its peak around 2007,
before decreasing.
* The LBFC acknowledged that a change in the venue rule,
coupled with the regionalization of hospital services, would
likely have a destabilizing effect on the insurance market,
at least in the short term, as insurers will likely have a more
difficult time predicting costs.

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York County Medicine | SPRING 2020

* Compensation for injuries from medical negligence by
physicians decreased by 13.7 percent from 2003 to 2018.

What's Next?
During the LBFC's public meeting on Monday, Senator Lisa
Baker, a member of LBFC and Chair of the Senate Judiciary
Committee, commented that further consideration of the topic
may be warranted, suggesting the possibility of a public hearing.
Additionally, we will work with our PCCJR partners to analyze
and respond to the LBFC's report.
Stay vigilant by watching our venue webpage at www.
pamedsoc.org/venuerule and PAMED's weekly e-newsletter, The
Dose, for more information and next steps.
In early 2019, when we mobilized our members and other
stakeholders to send their comments to the Pa. Supreme Court's
Civil Procedural Rules Committee that is proposing this change,
nearly 2,600 people responded. If more action is needed, can we
count on you?


http://www.YORKCOMEDSOC.ORG http://www.pamedsoc.org/venuerule

York County Medicine Spring 2020

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