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Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - More on: General Assembly sends bill increasing medical malpractice caps to Governor

Updating yesterday's brief post, here is Niki Kelly's story today in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, headed "Lawmakers raise malpractice damages cap." Some quotes:

INDIANAPOLIS – Lawmakers on Tuesday agreed to raise the cap on damages Hoosiers can collect in medical malpractice suits for the first time in almost 20 years.

The fix to Indiana’s medical malpractice system came after only nine days of public discussion. The final vote in the Senate was unanimous.

Senate Bill 28 now heads to Gov. Mike Pence for his approval.

“I would point out Indiana was the best medical malpractice environment and remains such after this bill,” said Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford.

Steele killed an earlier version of the bill months ago before there was even a hearing – saying there just wasn’t agreement among the stakeholders.

But he and those involved in the system – hospitals, doctors, trial lawyers – kept working behind the scenes and unveiled a compromise last week.

The bill would raise the current cap of $1.25 million to $1.65 million in 2017 and $1.8 million in 2019.

Indiana’s cap hasn’t been raised since 1998, and many lawmakers were concerned a court might overturn the cap as has happened in other states. * * *

Indiana was the first state to pass medical malpractice reform legislation in 1975. It is one of only three states that caps total damages, according to the Indiana Hospital Association. Indiana’s cap was also among the lowest.

Steele said there is also language in the bill to instruct the medical review panels – which are used to help judge whether malpractice occurred – to move at an expedient pace.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 9, 2016 10:58 AM
Posted to Indiana Government