(Washington, June 29, 2017) -- The American College of Physicians (ACP) applauds the House of Representatives for its passage of a multifaceted approach to medical-liability reform, the "Protecting Access to Care Act" (H.R. 1215), yesterday.
In a March 15 letter to bill-sponsor Congressman Steve King, ACP noted that the legislation will, among other things, set a federal limit on the amount of non-economic damages and would enact a fair-share rule that specifies that in any health-care lawsuit each party shall be liable for that party's share of damages only and not for the share of any other person.
ACP believes that any solution to improve the medical liability system in the U.S. should include a multifaceted approach, because no single program or law by itself is likely to achieve the goals of improving patient safety, ensuring fair compensation to patients, strengthening rather than undermining the patient-physician relationship, and reducing the economic costs associated with the current system. A multifaceted approach should allow for innovation, pilot-testing, and further research on the most effective reforms, including health courts and administrative compensation models, and communication and resolution programs. In addition, the Congressional Budget Office estimated in 2013 that the federal government could save $57 billion over 10 years by reforming our medical liability tort system.
ACP believes that the time is ripe to develop and pass common-sense reforms.
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 148,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness.