A medical malpractice reform task force in Pennsylvania has declined to recommend a cap on noneconomic damages, which is the prime reform objective of the state medical society and many other doctors' groups, including the AMA.
In a report released today, the Medical Malpractice Liability Insurance Task Force, appointed by Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, says further research on a cap is needed.
But the panel does make other recommendations, such as eliminating a state-run catastrophic med mal insurance fund, giving a premium break to doctors who go through patient safety training and reducing the amount of malpractice insurance physicians must carry.
The split over caps reflects the makeup of the task force, pitting doctors and their allies in the hospital and insurance industries against attorneys, who tend to oppose malpractice reform and call for patient safety and insurance reforms instead.
Of the panel's 28 members, 13 are attorneys, seven are physicians and the rest come from hospitals, malpractice carriers, health insurers, businesses and unions.
'"Perhaps nothing has been debated more intensely than limits on noneconomic damages,"' the group's 28-page report states. '"Caps alone, however, will not solve the current crisis, and any effect will not be immediate."