Bills meant to control malpractice costs moved to the governors of Connecticut and New Hampshire, although neither contained the caps on damages that have been sought by physicians in much of the nation. Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell has not said whether she will sign the malpractice bill, which passed the House 105-43 and the Senate 27-9 earlier this week. It would require a similar provider's signed opinion that malpractice occurred before a lawsuit could proceed; state approval for medical-liability premium increases of 7.5% or more; and mandatory court review of any jury award for noneconomic damages of more than $1 million.
In New Hampshire, Gov. John Lynch has said he will sign the reform measure, which would create a mandatory pretrial review panel for medical malpractice, modeled after a system in Maine. The panel will take effect 60 days after the bill is signed. The legislation passed the House 218-115 Wednesday and the Senate in March. -- by Andis Robeznieks and Joseph Mantone