Tort Reform Bill Moving in Ga. Legislature

April 6, 2004

The Georgia Senate has passed a tort reform bill designed to address the state’s growing hospital and medical malpractice insurance liability crisis.

The Senate passed H.B. 1028 last week on a 36-to-17 vote, and the bill is now in a conference committee for further enhancement.

“According to a recent survey, almost 90 percent of Georgia voters supported reforms to the state’s civil justice system, and evidently the Senate agrees,” said Robert Herlong, southeast regional manager for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCIAA). “This bill was specifically intended to address the financial crisis faced by small and rural hospitals in the state which are unable to buy liability insurance.”

H.B. 1028 creates the Georgia Hospital Insurance Authority, a public corporation of the state, which will be responsible for providing or obtaining liability insurance for public and private medical facilities.

The bill includes information about the composition of the board and its duties or responsibilities and authorizes the attorney general to provide legal services to the Authority.

Insurance industry observers are reportedly hopeful that the bill’s language will be fine-tuned in the House conference committee, which could improve its chance of passing the legislature.

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