General Assembly approves medical malpractice reforms          Send a link to a friend

[MAY 31, 2005]  SPRINGFIELD -- More than two years after hundreds of doctors first rallied in Springfield, the General Assembly has approved a medical malpractice reform agreement, according to state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington.

Senate Bill 475 implements a number of medical, insurance and legal reforms, and caps noneconomic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits at $500,000 for doctors and $1 million for hospitals.

"On Feb. 26, 2003, several hundred doctors came to Springfield to rally against skyrocketing medical malpractice insurance premiums that were driving physicians and hospitals out of business and leaving citizens with fewer health care options," Brady said. "Now, more than two years later, we have finally reached a long-overdue agreement. I would have liked the caps on noneconomic damages to be $250,000 for doctors and $500,000 for hospitals, but the fact that we convinced Democrat leaders to accept caps at all is significant. Also, I feel rate regulation will adversely affect affordable medical malpractice premiums."

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Other provisions of the agreement will:

  • Raise the standards that medical malpractice suits must meet before moving forward, as a means of preventing frivolous lawsuits.
  • Allow doctors to apologize to patients without those statements being used against them legally.
  • Enhance competition in the medical malpractice insurance market.
  • Increase the number of medical investigators and coordinators.
  • Create a website where patients can find out information on Illinois physicians and any medical malpractice lawsuits that have been filed against them.

Approved by the House of Representatives on May 30 and by the Senate on May 31, Senate Bill 475 now moves to the governor, who has said he will sign the measure.

[News release from Sen. Bill Brady]

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