Wyo. Residents to Vote on November Ballot Regarding Caps for Non-Economic Damages in Med-Mal Cases

July 23, 2004

The special session of the Wyoming legislature ended on Saturday, July 17, following the passage of a constitutional amendment that would allow for caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. This measure will be on the November ballot for voter approval, according to the American Insurance Association (AIA).

“The Wyoming legislature showed its wisdom by calling a special session and passing legislation in support of allowing caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases,” said John Marlow, AIA assistant vice president, southwest region. “Doctors have been leaving the state at an increasing rate because costs have risen out of control. Voter approval of this measure will greatly increase the availability of health care in Wyoming by encouraging doctors to continue practicing medicine in the state.”

Other measures enacted as part of the medical malpractice joint resolution during the special session were as follows:

• a prohibition of provider statements of apology from being admitted into evidence in a civil trial;
• a plan to reimburse obstetricians 90 percent of costs under Medicaid;
• an omnibus package of studies of health proposals; and
• a loan program to help health care providers pay medical malpractice premiums.

Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) signed the joint resolution on July 17. Previous measures regarding caps on non-economic damages were defeated in the 2004 regular legislative session.

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