The president of the North Carolina Hospital Association recently quit the North Carolina Bar Association and is encouraging others to do so after the bar association concluded that malpractice lawsuits are not a problem in the state.
NCHA President Bill Pully also asked hospital executives to talk with their attorneys because he is concerned they may not be able to adequately represent a hospital while remaining members of the bar association, Don Dalton, the hospital association's vice president of public relations, said Monday.
G. Gray Wilson, the bar association president, said the organization will be better equipped to act as a forum for both sides of the malpractice issue if hospital attorneys stay involved.
The malpractice issue debate has become more intense in recent years. Organizations like the hospital association say frivolous lawsuits increase the cost of medical malpractice insurance rates.
The N.C. bar association assigned a task force in 2003 to study whether malpractice lawsuits limit access to affordable, quality healthcare in the state. The task force report concluded that some malpractice insurance is prohibitively expensive. The report also said there was insufficient evidence that legal reforms would cut insurance costs.
The bar association is the largest legal group in the state, but is different from the N.C. State Bar, a mandatory licensing and regulation organization for all attorneys in the state.