The Association of Trial Lawyers of America has asked for a meeting with top officials from the American Medical Association to seek "common ground" on divisive issues like changes to insurance law, caps on damages in lawsuits and patient-safety improvements, the Washington-based trade group announced yesterday.
ATLA President Todd Smith, who represents plaintiffs in malpractice cases, asked for a meeting with AMA President John Nelson, M.D., suggesting the two sides meet when AMA leaders are scheduled to gather in Washington March 14-16 to lobby lawmakers for a strict cap of $250,000 on noneconomic damages in malpractice lawsuits.
"I hope you choose to recognize the growing body of research that the so-called 'tort reform' your organization has advocated in the past will not result in lower insurance rates for doctors -- but will victimize the patients your members have sworn an oath to protect," Smith wrote in a letter to Nelson.
In a release, the lawyers' organization said, "the AMA has rebuffed multiple offers for a meeting with ATLA" in the last four years. An AMA official said the Chicago-based doctors' group has arranged meetings with a top ATLA representative on at least two occasions in recent years.