Blagojevich OKs law on malpractice

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Thursday, August 25, 2005

Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed on Thursday a medical malpractice law that is designed to curb soaring insurance premiums for doctors by capping so-called pain-and-suffering awards against hospitals and physicians.
 The bill was the culmination of a massive two-year political and public relations battle between doctors and trial lawyers.
 But the lawyers, along with victims' groups, predict that the caps provision will doom the bill on constitutional grounds. The caps limit noneconomic damages to $500,000 against doctors and $1 million against hospitals.
 "Caps have twice been declared unconstitutional in Illinois, the last time in 1995," said Amber Hard, a spokeswoman for the Center for Justice & Democracy, which opposes the new law. "Caps are arbitrary and devastate victims of medical malpractice. They will do nothing to keep doctors in Illinois, and they will not lower insurance rates."

The law:
Limits noneconomic damages that victims can collect in medical malpractice suits to $500,000 against doctors and $1 million against hospitals.
Requires stricter screening of malpractice suits at filing.
Allows for the use in court of apologies from doctors to injured patients.
Establishes more stringent oversight of doctors, including establishment of a Web site listing any past convictions.
 Establishes stricter oversight of insurance companies' malpractice premiums.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

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