A malpractice task force appointed by Florida Republican Gov. Jeb Bush unveiled a lengthy set of malpractice reforms yesterday, including a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages, legal protections for emergency room physicians and creation of a new state patient-safety authority.
The Florida Medical Association praised the report, calling it "a bold move forward," which the Legislature now needs to take action on.
"Florida physicians know that the governor is committed to resolving this crisis in Florida," says Robert Cline, M.D., FMA president, in a release.
"Florida is among the states with the highest medical malpractice insurance premiums in the nation," the task force reports. "This increase in healthcare liability insurance rates is forcing physicians to practice medicine without professional liability insurance, to leave Florida, to not perform high-risk procedures or to retire early from the practice of medicine."
The task force made 60 specific recommendations, including:
- a statewide electronic medical records system "developed collaboratively with hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers";
- no-fault malpractice demonstration projects; and
- a limit on joint and several liability, under which a physician with a tangental relationship to the case may have to pay a large share of damages.