TMA to Congress: No Sneak Torts

The Texas Medical Association, the Texas Medical Liability Trust, and other liability insurers are asking Congress to make sure the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) does not create new theories of liability or alter the rules governing medical professional liability lawsuits. They wrote the chair and ranking minority member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that they support HR 816, the Provider Shield Act, sponsored by U.S. Reps. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas).

The group said in its letter that judges and personal injury lawyers could use certain provisions of the health system reform law "to establish a national 'standard of care' to prove negligence in such lawsuits when a physician's personalized care for his or her patients may not adhere to the federal payment or billing/coding guidelines. Such a threat can have a chilling effect on patient safety and stifle future efforts to improve the standard of care for all patients."

They added that the bill, pending before the Energy and Commerce Committee, is "non-controversial, bipartisan legislation that can and should be passed this year and that will make a true difference in the ability of health care providers to improve access and quality of care for their patients."

The Physicians Insurers Association of America (PIAA) says a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report could not guarantee PPACA would not produce multiple new options for personal injury lawyers to file claims. The PIAA says in a June 5 Advocacy Update that Congress ordered the GAO to consider whether the development, recognition, or implementation of any guideline or other standards under 14 different provisions of the PPACA would result in a "new cause of action or claim." The report says implementation of the provisions is unlikely to produce to new causes of action or claims because the law did not specifically allow for such. It concluded, however, that such a determination would ultimately rest with the courts, PIAA said.

Supporting HR 816 is part of TMA's aggressive federal agenda to: 

 


Action, June 4, 2012


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