Pennsylvania News

Governor Presents Proposal for Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Crisis

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell presented his plan for addressing the current Pennsylvania medical malpractice crisis. Addressing the inability of his other proposed reform initiatives to immediately lower malpractice premiums, Gov. Rendell intends to have the state cover the entire cost of Pennsylvania’s mandated liability insurance for certain specialists. The doctors paying the highest Pennsylvania medical malpractice insurance premiums—surgeons, obstetricians, orthopedic surgeons, and neurosurgeons—would all have their fees for the state malpractice fund 2003, 2004, and 2005 covered by the state. Other doctors would have half of their fees paid for by the state for the same period of time.

The governor claims his plan would reduce Pennsylvania doctors’ medical malpractice payments by 20- 33%. Proposed sources of funding for this abatement program include increased taxes on alcohol and cigarettes or additional co-payment fees for physician’s office visits. Other aspects of Rendell’s reform package include increased power for judges to reduce jury awards, limitations on attorney’s contingency fees, and voluntary mediation for Pennsylvania medical malpractice plaintiffs.

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