The House Energy and Commerce Committee last night voted 21-13 to pass medical malpractice liability reform that mimics a law on the books in California. The House bill limits noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases to $250,000, and establishes boundaries for how much of the total damages plaintiffs' attorneys can collect.
The House Judiciary Committee approved the same bill last week. As amended by the Energy and Commerce Committee, the bill now includes a provision stipulating that plaintiffs have only three years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. The exceptions to that provision include cases of fraud, intentional concealment and "the presence of a foreign body, which has no therapeutic or diagnostic purpose or effect, in the person of the injured person."
The American Medical Association applauded passage of the bill, which is modeled after California's Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975.
Over the past 25 years, MICRA has saved the state more than $1 billion annually in liability premiums, according to a statement issued by the AMA yesterday. An Energy and Commerce staffer said the bill is expected to reach the House floor next week.