AMA Backs Florida’s Call for Medical Liability Reform

March 25, 2004

The American Medical Association (AMA) issued a statement Thursday as it keeps its eyes on the medical liability climate in Florida. The following comments are attributed to Donald Palmisano, president, of AMA.

“The American Medical Association urges Florida residents to protect their access to care – and make sure that deserving patients, not lawyers, receive the majority of any jury awards – by signing the petition for a constitutional amendment that limits lawyers’ contingency fees.

“Florida physicians are being forced to stop high-risk services, take
early retirement and even leave practice altogether – because they either cannot find or cannot afford medical liability insurance. Obstetricians in Florida are finding it increasingly more difficult to
deliver babies – because of a legal climate that saddles them with the nation’s highest insurance premiums.

“At least seven Florida hospitals have closed obstetrics units because of insurance concerns, while four other hospitals have reduced obstetrical services. In addition, neurological services at 10 hospitals have been eliminated, reduced or limited.

“The medical liability system needs to change – because the status quo cannot stand. The access problems Florida’s patients face are real. When doctors can’t afford insurance, patients can’t get care.”

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