Malpractice Claim Venue Rule Change
What YOU can do:
Write & Amplify posts on social media using #ProtectPaHealthcare
Spread the word! Share information with your colleagues who may not be aware:
- Provide a brief summary at your next Staff Meeting
- Add it to your next Department Meeting agenda
- Send a group email
- Print & Post the 1-page PCJC Summary
For more information or ways you can help, please contact Amy Davis (AmyDavisDO@aol.com), PA ACP Health & Public Policy Committee Chair, or Mr. John Nikoloff (John@pa-erg.com).
Brief Summary: The Civil Procedural Rules Committee of the PA Supreme Court published in 12/2018 a proposed Rule change that would again allow plaintiffs' attorneys to basically choose the court jurisdiction in which to file a malpractice claim. PA ACP is at the top of a coalition of more than 30 organizations strongly advocating against this Rule change. A similar situation in the early 2000s caused numerous quality physicians to leave PA and practice in neighboring and other states. Trainees fled PA immediately after completing their training. Patients were left with often unsafe care scenarios. Many communities had no reasonable access to, for example, primary care clinicians, obstetricians, orthopedic surgeons, etc. Others had too few physicians to safely care for those who needed them. In 2002, a change was passed to alleviate this crisis. As reported by multiple media outlets (e.g. Brelje, Reading Eagle, 2/14/2019), records from the PA judicial system demonstrate the number of medical malpractice cases filed yearly fell 47% after this corrective intervention. While the new proposed Rule change's potential impact on patient care is currently being investigated by the Legislative Budget & Finance Committee, it is expected to reignite the prior crisis.
What is PA-ACP Doing: PA-ACP immediately got engaged on this issue on behalf of its members, and wrote a letter to the PA Supreme Court’s Civil Procedural Rules Committee in opposition to this change to state law. In January, PA-ACP worked with House and Senate leadership, to seek further support – which resulted in letter to the Supreme Court asking for a delay in consideration of this change, and passage of SR 20, requiring the state’s Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) to conduct a study of the issue and report back by the end of the year. Since that time, PA-ACP has continued to work with the LBFC, providing additional information, and participated in public hearings on the issue. We are meeting with members of the House and Senate to enlist their support for maintaining the current law and rules.
Want to learn more? Check out more in-depth topic reviews:
PA ACP’s letter to Civil Procedural Rules Committee, PA Supreme Court:
PCJC Summary: http://www.paforciviljusticereform.org/medical-malpractice-crisis