Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ralph Cappy said the court immediately would take three steps to advance Gov. Edward Rendell's medical malpractice reform plan through the court. The chief justice has appointed a judge to develop an implementation plan for a voluntary malpractice mediation program. He also selected another judge to chair an ad hoc "think tank" of four attorneys to review recommendations in the plan, consider underlying issues and devise recommendations to the Supreme Court to help solve those problems related to the judicial branch. Lastly, Cappy ordered the court administrator to assist the state government in developing a way to collect medical malpractice statistics.
Cappy did not set a deadline for any of the projects. Earlier this month Rendell unveiled a medical liability reform plan that included some financial relief for physicians on their malpractice premiums as well as patient-safety initiatives, tort and insurance reforms, and provider reimbursement. -- by Cinda Becker