A group of Washington state physicians and hospitals submitted an initiative to limit noneconomic damage awards in medical-malpractice cases to the secretary of state for possible inclusion on next November's statewide ballot. The measure, dubbed Initiative 330, would limit awards for pain and suffering to between $350,000 and just more than $1 million; apply a sliding-scale cap to attorneys' fees; require mediation before a patient could file suit; and prohibit lawsuits brought more than three years after the alleged malpractice. Initiative 330 would compete directly with another liability-reform measure submitted by lawyers and patient groups earlier this month. That initiative, among other things, would revoke licenses of doctors who have three jury verdicts against them in 10 years, require public disclosure of a provider's malpractice history and outlaw secret settlements in malpractice cases. Once certified, each measure will head to the state Legislature, which can choose to pass it into law, amend it or reject it and send it to the ballot for voters to decide. -- by Laura B. Benko
Wash. docs, hospitals propose med mal measure
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