New Med-Mal Petition Introduced to Nev. Senate

February 25, 2003

Doctor-sponsored Initiative Petition 1 (IP1) was introduced to the Nevada Senate Feb. 21, in response to the medical malpractice crisis inflicting Nevada’s doctors—in particular, obstetricians, according to the Associate Press.

The petition suggests reducing med-mal award caps, restricting sky-rocketing lawyer fees and lowering premiums for doctors.

However, a similar senate bill, SB97, may prevent IP1 from making it to a committee hearing. Lawmakers favor SB97 because it would allow amendments and gives more time for debate.

As for IP1, state law mandates that it be passed as is by mid-March. Any amendments would send the petition to the 2004 ballot as a voter initiative.

Due to the legislature’s reluctance, petition supporters pushed the Senate Judiciary Committee to initiate SB97, which will be up for a hearing in early March. Doctors say they will campaign against IP1, provided SB97 is approved.

A stipulation in both IP1 and SB97 would permit doctors to stretch out malpractice claim payments over time and restrict the liability of doctors partially involved in a medical procedure.

Both would also remove two exemptions from a $350,000 pain-and-suffering malpractice award cap.

Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, and Gov. Kenny Guinn and lawyer groups reportedly oppose any new tort reform, stating they want a law passed in 2002 time to work.

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