PAMED to Court: Proposed Changes to Med Liability Venue Rule Threaten Patient Care in Pennsylvania

Last Updated: Feb 21, 2019

On Feb. 21, 2019, the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) submitted its objections to the Civil Procedural Rules Committee’s proposed amendment of rules governing venue in medical professional liability (MPL) actions.

View PAMED's Comments

In the early 2000s, Pennsylvania was losing the national competition for quality physicians due to the MPL crisis the state was experiencing at that time. And, as a result of the adverse practice climate, health care in the Commonwealth suffered. Fortunately, due to the 2003 MPL venue reform and a series of other legislative efforts, Pennsylvania recovered from the crisis and is once again a leader in the health care arena.

gavel_stethoscope_law_legal-articleRegrettably, the proposed changes to the venue rule threaten to undo the positive gains the Commonwealth has made since the early 2000s by resurrecting forum shopping in MPL cases. This could result in a domino-effect of negative implications for the MPL insurance market and access to quality patient care for all Pennsylvanians—particularly in the state’s rural areas.

In PAMED’s 101-page comment document, we support our opposition to the proposed amendment by: 

  • Demonstrating the positive impact the current rule had on eliminating forum shopping in the Commonwealth;
  • Underscoring the importance of the current rule in maintaining the stability of Pennsylvania’s health care system; and
  • Offering an analysis of the estimated impact of the proposed rule changes on MPL costs and insurance rates.

PAMED’s comments also advocate for collaboration between Pennsylvania’s legislative and judicial branches, as well as an open public process in the development of any new rule.

Pennsylvanians cannot afford to allow the gains realized by the 2003 MPL venue reforms to be undone by the Committee’s proposed changes. Accordingly, PAMED recognizes the great importance of this issue and appreciates the opportunity to comment on the proposed amendments.

Additional Resources

You can find an overview of the proposed rule venue change here. And, get details on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to await a study on the effects that changing venue rules could have on the commonwealth before it considers whether to make changes here.

PAMED will continue to follow this issue closely and will share any updates with members as they become available.

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