Care First Kentucky Coalition Calls for Medical Review Panel Legislation during 2014 Session

carefirst mapKentucky’s healthcare providers are taking a stand to protect all caregivers against aggressive personal injury lawyers and meritless lawsuits that pull precious resources away from patient care. Today, a broad group of Kentucky healthcare and business leaders joined forces as the Care First Kentucky Coalition to urge legislators to fix Kentucky’s broken medical malpractice system.

The coalition will support legislation this year to create a medical review panels (MRPs) process that will provide an independent, expert review of proposed claims against healthcare providers.

The Care First Kentucky Coalition consists of the following organizations:

Healthcare Organizations:
Kentucky Hospital Assoc., Kentucky Medical Assoc., Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians, Kentucky Assoc. of Health Care Facilities, Leading Age Kentucky, Kentucky Dental Assoc., Kentucky Pharmacists Assoc., Kentucky Assisted Living Facilities Assoc., Signature Healthcare, St. Elizabeth Hospital

Business Organizations:
Kentucky Chamber, Greater Louisville, Inc., Commerce Lexington, Northern Kentucky Chamber, Hardin County Chamber, Partnership for Commonsense Justice

“Now is the time for Kentucky to say enough is enough to the meritless lawsuits which are having a huge impact on healthcare costs, a major concern for Kentucky businesses. “ said Dave Adkisson, President and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. “Our neighboring states have already addressed this problem through common sense reforms and it is time we do the same.”

Medical malpractice liability and the increasing cost of civil litigation, whether through legal fees, higher liability insurance premiums, defensive business practices or simply reduced investment opportunities, is a significant burden for Kentucky’s healthcare and business communities and diverts critical funds away from care to line the pockets of personal injury lawyers.

“We’re asking Kentucky legislators to create a medical review panel process to help stabilize our medical malpractice system, making the state more attractive to employers while helping us retain and attract the kind of quality physicians and other healthcare providers Kentuckians depend upon,” said Fred A. Williams, Jr, MD, President of the Kentucky Medical Association.

MRPs have been successfully employed in other states, including Indiana, to provide another layer of accountability for providers by producing expert findings that are admissible in court. Legitimate claims against providers are validated while meritless claims are quickly exposed before clogging the court system.

Kentucky’s nursing home community pushed for similar legislation during the previous two sessions. The bills passed favorably in the Senate both years but have yet to receive a vote in the House of Representatives.

The MRPs would consist of three medical experts. To ensure fairness, each side represented in the case would select a panelist with the third being agreed to by the other two experts. The panel would be tasked with rendering an opinion on whether the standard of care was violated. They would not make a finding of fact or conclusion of law but the panel’s opinion would be admissible in court. Cases would be reviewed within six months ensuring a timely process while protecting the plaintiff’s access to the court.

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Ben Keeton

Publisher at Medical News
Ben is the publisher of Medical News and focuses on the business of healthcare in Kentucky.
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