Pa. Hospitals Say New Liability Survey Backs Need for Medical Reforms

October 14, 2004

The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) issued the following statement from President and CEO Carolyn Scanlan in response to Pennsylvania-specific medical liability reform polling data released Thursday by the Health Coalition on Liability and Access (HCLA):

“Seven out of ten Pennsylvanians surveyed just weeks ago say that
medical liability lawsuits are a primary reason for the rise in health care costs. Seven out of ten support national reform legislation. Nearly eight out of ten are concerned that the loss of health care providers might impact the availability and quality of care they receive.

“And although limits on non-economic damages were defeated in the
legislature in July, 73 percent of those polled still support reasonable
limits on pain and suffering awards while favoring a guarantee of full payment for lost wages and medical expenses.

“The results of this liability survey demonstrate that liability reform
remains a top issue for Pennsylvanians. Pennsylvania’s hospitals will
continue to push for action that will preserve patient access to high quality care.

“In the short term, we will urge the Governor and the General Assembly to extend the Mcare abatement. In 2005, hospitals will renew efforts – in Pennsylvania and in the U.S. Congress – to adopt reasonable and fair reforms to improve our legal system.

“While we have made progress on liability reform, the crisis is far
from over. Our goal has been to bring fairness, balance, and stability to Pennsylvania’s liability insurance market. Achieving these critical reforms will help to keep doctors practicing, hospital services open, and patients healthy.”

HAP is a statewide membership services organization that advocates for nearly 250 Pennsylvania acute and specialty care, primary care, subacute care, long-term care, home health, and hospice providers, as well as the patients and communities they serve.

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