PA Chamber: State Supreme Court’s Medical Liability Decision Will Negatively Impact Patients, Increase Healthcare Costs
Luke Bernstein, President and CEO of the PA Chamber, the largest broad-based business advocacy organization in the Commonwealth, issued the following statement regarding the state Supreme Court’s decision yesterday to roll back important rules of civil procedure for medical liability lawsuits:
“Leading up to 2003, Pennsylvania was facing a shortage of physicians as a result of skyrocketing medical liability premium costs, due in large part to an out-of-control litigation climate. A common tactic for trial lawyers at that time was to get cases moved to counties known for “jackpot jury awards.” This had a significant impact on health care delivery for patients, which increased costs and decreased patient access. The PA Chamber supported the medical community’s successful efforts to change the state court system’s rules to require complaints to be filed in the county where the alleged injury occurred. Those reforms led to a better climate for doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers – which addressed the exodus of providers from the state – and it improved access to care for patients, while helping to control costs on the healthcare system.
“Yesterday’s decision by the state Supreme Court to revert to the conditions that created a crisis will only harm health care providers and further diminish our state’s competitiveness, without serving the interests of patients. The reforms previously enacted worked for Pennsylvanians, and this action by the court sets us backwards. If an incident took place in Cumberland or Westmoreland County, and there are no conflicts for the case to be heard there, why should it be moved to Philadelphia County or vice versa? We strongly urge the legislature and Wolf Administration to enact legislation establishing fair rules for venue in these types of civil cases.”
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state’s largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.