New Jersey lawmakers in the Assembly are scheduled to vote on medical malpractice, patient safety and rate regulation legislation today, after votes were delayed last week.
The medical malpractice funding bill creates a $90 million fund that would help doctors and hospitals pay insurance premiums. The fund would be paid for by $50-a-year license fee for medical professionals as well as by $3 per employee tax on employers.
The Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) has argued that caps should be placed on jury awards. But While the reform does not go that far, it does tighten rules on filing lawsuits.
The bill would also require state review of any malpractice insurance rate increase in excess of 15%.
The patient safety provisions focus on requiring reporting of medical errors.
MSNJ Incoming President S. Manzoor Abidi last week urged lawmakers to create a task force for one year to further investigate the medical liability insurance issue.
“Many of the reform provisions currently discussed may take a few years before any effectiveness on premium stabilization can be seen. The task force would be able to conduct additional research and consider all issues, including the role of declining physician reimbursements and further oversight of insurance companies,” said Abidi.
“New Jersey needs to follow the lead of Florida, which created its task force comprising seven high-ranking representatives from academia,” said Dr. Abidi. “Limiting membership in this manner removes vested interests, and allows for quick research and impartial recommendations.”
Abidi commended the lawmakers for requiring the Department of Banking and Insurance to review any rate increase requests in excess of 15% by medical liability carriers.
The Senate has yet to consider the malpractice bills this session.
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