Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland said Wednesday he is willing to compromise on his proposal to cap jury awards as a way to help ease the skyrocketing costs of medical malpractice insurance.
Rowland said he would back a $750,000 limit on noneconomic damages in malpractice lawsuits, and give judges the ability to waive the cap in extreme cases. Rowland had previously proposed a firm $250,000 cap.
"There is a medical crisis going on, and we have not reformed the medical malpractice system," Rowland told a group of state business leaders at the state Capitol in Hartford.
Lawmakers are considering a variety of proposals to reform rising medical malpractice costs. Doctors say high insurance premiums are driving them out of business, while trial lawyers and those injured by errors have vigorously opposed efforts to curb the awards they are eligible to receive.
Lawmakers are considering two bills on medical malpractice reform. They include proposals for a panel that would screen potential cases for merit and giving the state's insurance department more authority to regulate rates.
Another proposal would ask hospitals to put in more quality-control measures, such as enhanced computerized patient filing systems, to prevent the incidence of malpractice.
The governor's plan would limit the amounts paid by the HMO, insurance company and doctor to $250,000 apiece, said Dean Pagani, Rowland's chief of staff.