MEDICAL MALPRACTICE MEASURE DEBATED

November 7, 2005

Washingtonians are debating a measure that seeks to lower liability costs and could drastically affect the state’s medical and insurance communities. I-336 is on the state’s November ballot and would establish a supplemental malpractice insurance fund, as well as mandate public hearings before malpractice insurance rate increases, if passed.

Dillon Malone, author of I-336 believes the measure’s focus is aimed at 4 percent of doctors in Washington responsible for more than half of the state’s malpractice payouts.

“If you want to lower the cost of medical malpractice insurance, part of the solution should be lower the incidents of malpractice itself,” Malone told KOMO News. “If they [doctors] lose three jury awards in 10 years, then their license may be revoked.”

Stephen Tarnoff, with the “No on 336” campaign, said the measure was, “highly punitive.”

Whether I-336 is the answer or not, just like another medical malpractice measure I-330, those on both sides of I-336 believe that reform is necessary.

That’s a “good summation,” Tarnoff said. “There are many states that have much more comprehensive and appropriate patient safety and quality improvement legislation.”

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