Advocacy Update

May 18, 2017: State Advocacy Update


The Iowa legislature has enacted sweeping medical liability reforms. On May 5, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed SF 465 into law, marking the culmination of decades of work by the Iowa Medical Society and its physician advocates.

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The new law enacts the following medical liability reforms:

  • A $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages, with some exceptions.
  • Strengthened expert witness standards.
  • A certificate of merit in all medical liability suits.
  • Expanded early communication and resolution protections.

The AMA is proud to have supported the work of the Iowa Medical Society in its successful effort to pass this comprehensive tort reform legislation, which takes effect July 1.

South Dakota became the latest state to enact a Good Samaritan overdose protection law when Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed HB 1082 into law last month. The new law was a multiyear effort led by the South Dakota State Medical Association (SDSMA), which coordinated efforts within the state and the AMA.

The new law says: "No person may be arrested or prosecuted for any misdemeanor or felony offense of possession, inhalation, ingestion, or otherwise taking into the body any controlled drug or substance if that person contacts any law enforcement or emergency medical services and reports that a person is in need of emergency medical assistance as the result of a drug-related overdose." The law does require the person making the call to remain on the scene to assist law enforcement as necessary. For more information about the new law, contact the SDSMA's Mark East.