New Hampshire Legislature Overrides Veto of Medical Malpractice Reform

Yesterday, the New Hampshire Legislature overrode a veto by Gov. John Lynch to pass a first-of-its-kind, early offer medical malpractice reform. reported on the veto earlier this week.

Under the new bill, New Hampshire physicians and hospitals will be able to make an “early offer” of compensation to victims of unintended medical outcomes. If the harmed patient accepts the early offer, there is no need to go to court and the victim is compensated. If the harmed patient refuses the early offer and takes the physician to court, yet receives a jury verdict equal to or less than the early offer, the harmed patient will have to compensate the defendant physician for his or her legal costs.

In his veto, Gov. Lynch stated that the bill had good intentions, but did not balance the interests of patients and healthcare workers. He thought the early offer bill was a good start and hoped the legislature would revisit and improve upon it. The veto override makes that scenario unlikely. Gov. Lynch noted that the early offer bill favors physicians and hospitals and would not compensate victims for lost earning capacity or pain and suffering.

The New Hampshire Medical Society supported the early offer bill, considering it an effective method of lowering the cost of the state’s medical malpractice insurance. Two of the state’s medical malpractice insurance companies opposed the Early Offer bill, warning that it could actually cause medical malpractice insurance premiums increase.

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