Monday, February 20, 2012

Florida bill to reduce med mal liability advances through state legislature

About three weeks ago, the Florida Independent published a story (short in details) about a new bill making its way through the state's legislature that seeks to lower the possible liability of doctors and hospitals.  According to the story, a Florida House judiciary committee passed a bill that would, among other things, grant “sovereign immunity” to providers as “government agents” and adopt stricter standards of proof of medical negligence. The grant of sovereign immunity would mean medical malpractice claimants could seek payment from the state, which would be reimbursed by the health care provider. The immunity puts a limit on the amount repaid by the provider — up to $200,000 for a single person and $300,000 for a single incident. Any amount exceeding the caps would require approval of the Legislature.

Now this does not make any sense to me.  Like I said, the story does not provide much details, but if I am reading this correctly, the bill does not propose a cap on damages.  What it does is shift the liability from the provider who will be protected by a cap to the state who will not.  What state would want to put itself in the position of having to pay for the negligence of private doctors?  If this is what the bill is trying to do, essentially it is shifting part of the liability (and in cases of high damages, most of the liability) from the negligent party to the state, or in other words, to the taxpayers.  Get ready Floridians, you may soon be the ones paying for your doctors' negligence.

A similar bill has been filed in the state Senate.  For Floridians' sake, let's hope it dies there.

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