While we are all concerned with the healthcare issues that seem to permeate every legislative session, another cause for concern is the issue of malpractice lawsuits against healthcare providers.
Because of the increase in frivolous lawsuits and growing punitive (non-economic) awards in the past, many doctors fled to other states as their malpractice insurance premiums became too expensive to retain.
In 2005, the General Assembly sought to reform the state’s civil liability system by lowering the caps on jury awards for pain and suffering in medical malpractice cases. Last year, the Missouri Supreme Court struck down the legislation and reinstated the caps based on an outdated form of common law dating back to British rule of 1607. Surprisingly, most states still use the English common law as the basis for their civil and criminal code system.
This week, I handled in the Senate, HB 112, which a companion bill to SB 105, legislation I’m sponsoring this session, which seeks to dissolve this application of old common law for this issue and would allow Missouri to set caps on frivolous medical malpractice claims for non-economic reasons.
We need to support our medical professionals in Missouri and keep costs down by relieving the economic stress brought on by superficial claims for medial neglect or malpractice.
After much debate, the measure was set aside for further consideration. It is my hope we can advance this bill to the governor’s desk so we can keep dedicated healthcare professionals in our state who provide Missourians with the quality care they deserve.
Always feel free to contact me throughout the year with any comments, questions, or issues by calling my office at (573) 751-5713 or by visiting my website at www.senate.mo.gov/brown.
Thank you for reading this and for your participation in state government.