Pa. Governor Pushes Med Mal Reform

September 24, 2002

Pennsylvania Governor Mark Schweiker urged the state General Assembly to pass medical malpractice reform, saying residents’ access to health care was being affected.

Speaking at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry’s annual dinner, the governor called for reducing or eliminating venue shopping, where medical-liability attorneys and their plaintiffs seek to have their case heard in districts with documented histories of large jury awards.

Gov. Schweiker noted that the state has already taken steps to solving the decades-old problems with the medical-malpractice system. Act 13, signed into law in March, began the move toward repairing the system with patient-safety measures and gradual privatization of the state CAT Fund. In addition, under the joint and several law, a person or company will only pay to the degree of responsibility assigned by a judge or jury. If a company is found 10 percent at fault, it would be forced to pay no more than 10 percent of the award. Previously, a company or person responsible for only 1 percent of the damages could be held responsible for 100 percent of the award.

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