Medical Malpractice Reform Advocates Urge Action Now
Side Note: this article from New Jersey publication NJ Spotlight discusses recent intensified calls by advocate groups for reform to the state medical malpractice system. Groups representing interests in medicine, law, business, and nursing have ramped up their efforts in support of tort reform legislation as a response to the growing shortage of physicians in New Jersey. Other groups disavow any connection between rising malpractice insurance premiums and physician shortage, but a physician deficit is a serious concern and must be avoided at all costs. The advocates in New Jersey have been successful in spurring the drafting of a bill in the legislature. The bill, which is in its nascent stages, lays out reforms like limiting insurer’s ability to raise premiums on doctors who are being sued, decreasing the statute of limitations in malpractice cases, and protecting volunteer doctors from lawsuits. This last provision is a particularly urgent matter, as many doctors wish to volunteer in free clinics but are currently unable to do so because of the cost of insurance. This denies care to the neediest members of our society, and has been addressed successfully in other states. The Cunningham Group supports these efforts to advance tort reform and hopes to see them succeed.
by Linda Moss
With New Jersey facing a worsening shortage of physicians, key medical and business groups say there’s only one way to stem the losses: Take action now to reform the medical malpractice laws that are costing the state its doctors. And policymakers are getting the message, crafting legislation aimed at addressing the issue.
“In medical malpractice, I think you’ve seen great concern among doctors that our civil justice laws don’t give them adequate protection from abusive lawsuits,” says Marcus Rayner, executive director of the New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance (NJLRA), a statewide group representing businesses, law firms, and medical and nursing associations.