Arizona Bill to Tighten Malpractice Rules Goes to Gov. Napolitano

April 27, 2006

The Arizona House reversed itself and approved Senate-passed legislation to make it harder to win medical malpractice lawsuits over emergency health care.

The House had previously watered down an earlier version of the legislation. But members voted 37-20 on Wednesday to accept the original language sought by physicians, hospitals and insurance companies who said it will help prevent physicians from refusing to work in emergency rooms. The measure was opposed by plaintiffs’ lawyers.

The bill (HB2315) was sent to Gov. Janet Napolitano. It would require a higher legal burden of proof for medical malpractice lawsuits against health care personnel in emergency health care situations.

Supporters of the bill said they hope the change would deter some lawsuits and prevent the flight of physicians from ER duty.

Opponents said it would left the public at risk of not being able to recover damages caused by negligence.

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