November 2021 Newsletter

Texas plaintiffs gear up for a fight against liability laws A challenge in federal court is the first step that medical liability lawsuit plaintiffs have taken to overturn long-standing and successful reforms for Texas patients. More than a dozen plaintiffs are seeking class-action status in support of a declaratory judgment that the reasonable limit of $250,000 on non-economic damages is unconstitutional. The group is preparing for what could be a years-long battle that could reach the highest court in the U.S. The lead attorney in the case is attempting to stretch the interpretation of the Seventh Amendment’s right to a jury trial with the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Health care providers are prepared to support the fact that the courts have selectively applied the incorporation of certain constitutional rights to the states and have stopped short of incorporating the Seventh Amendment. Undoing the reforms that brought urgently needed health care resources to the state would harm patient access to care. “The legislature and the voters understood the need for limits on non-economic damages to resolve serious deficiencies in the ability for patients to access basic and necessary care,” said Yvonne Puig, an attorney for the Texas Hospital…

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October 2021 Newsletter

Strong support for Good Samaritan legislation Following the introduction of the bi-partisan Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act last month in the House of Representatives, strong support led to a companion bill in the Senate. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Angus King (I-ME), along with seven additional bi-partisan cosponsors, introduced S. 2941. Like its House companion, H.R. 5239, the Senate bill would help protect medical volunteers from lawsuits during large-scale disasters and ensure that vital health care services are available to disaster victims without altering liability laws that may already exist in a particular state. Whether caused by pandemics, wildfires, or hurricanes — disasters know no boundaries. Current inconsistencies in state laws create obstacles to treating those affected, especially when applied to large-scale disasters that may cross state lines. The Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act would ensure that an adequate supply of trained health care professionals is ready and willing to volunteer their services during a time of great need. “Amidst the chaos and sorrow of the last 18 months, the selflessness and caring of the American people has been on full display,” said Senator King. “Our legislation will permanently ensure that volunteers working to confront emergencies will have reasonable…

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September 2021 Newsletter

Good Samaritan legislation re-introduced in House of Representatives A bipartisan bill to empower medical volunteers to deliver health care during large-scale disasters was re-introduced this month in the House of Representatives. The H.R. 5239, the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act, offers patients and medical professionals a streamlined approach to facilitate access to care for disaster victims without altering a state’s liability laws. “The threat of medical liability lawsuits often deters qualified health care professionals looking to provide critical care to disaster victims during a time of urgent patient needs,” said HCLA Chair Mike Stinson. “As we have seen over the past year and a half, in particular, the willingness and ability of these medical professionals to shift to disaster hot spots must be supported by federal legislation that ensures health care providers can volunteer to provide critical care services outside of their home state.” The Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act reconciles current inconsistencies in state laws that may reduce the ability of health care professionals to be available to treat disaster victims, especially when applied to large-scale disasters that may cross state lines and affect patient care. Companion legislation is expected to be introduced shortly in the Senate. To read…

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