Providers assail lack of progress on Senate medical liability reform measure

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The head of the American Health Care Association criticized members of the Senate Tuesday for not passing a medical liability reform bill. Although S. 2061 pertains primarily to the practice of obstetrics and gynecology, it holds the interest of long-term care providers, who similarly have faced skyrocketing liability costs and hope for reform.

AHCA President and CEO Chip Roadman called the Senate's lack of movement on the issue a "wasted opportunity to reinvigorate the debate on medical liability reform."

Roadman said that a recent study by Aon Risk Consultants that his association commissioned showed that in 2003, 5% of the total Medicaid reimbursement for nursing facilities – or $5.89 per patient day -- was diverted to pay costs associated with lawsuits.

S. 2061 is a pared down version of a bill that passed the House but not the Senate last year. It would cap noneconomic damages at $250,000 in malpractice lawsuits brought against OB/GYNs. Democrats in the Senate effectively side-tracked the Republican-sponsored bill by voting not to limit debate on the matter.