Improve Medical Liability Climate

The rising costs associated with medical malpractice liability are taking a significant financial toll on the health care industry, resulting in increased costs for consumers and a continued inability to attract and retain sufficient numbers of physicians in all regions of the Commonwealth. The high price of liability insurance and the lack of reasonable tort limitations in Kentucky have contributed to the shortage of medical professionals. To curb this trend, the Chamber supports allowing voters to consider a constitutional amendment that would permit the legislature to consider comprehensive tort reform. State and federal lawmakers should pass reasonable limits on damages and require alternative dispute resolution to help reduce escalating malpractice insurance premiums and the resulting burden passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices, fewer health care providers and fewer choices. Since 2000, numerous states have passed ballot initiatives to amend their constitutions, and 16 states have passed a cap on non-economic damages. The Chamber also supports the establishment of a medical review panel process that would provide an independent, expert review of proposed claims against health care providers. Medical review panels have been successful in other states, including Indiana, to provide another layer of accountability for providers by providing expert findings that are admissible in court. Legitimate claims against providers are validated while meritless claims are quickly exposed before clogging the court system.

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