Medical liability legislation 'a good start' toward further reform measures

By Toby Sells

Tennessee doctors didn’t get everything they wanted in the way of medical liability reform this year, but some say they got a step in the right direction.

The General Assembly passed a bill in early May that will direct plaintiffs to give doctors a 60-day, pre-lawsuit notification; require plaintiffs to get a certificate of good faith from a medical expert before filing the suit; and change the term medical malpractice in Tennessee code to “health care liability action.”

“I think it’s a good first start, but it is, obviously, not everything we wanted by any means,” says cardiologist and Memphis Medical Society president Keith Anderson.

The direct effects of the bill are yet to be seen since the bill still awaits Gov. Phil Bredesen’s signature. Anderson says liability insurance rates and the number of “meritless” cases filed are success benchmarks for the bill.

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