The AMA strongly supports comprehensive medical liability reform (MLR) (PDF), including liability protections similar to successful reforms in California. MLR will ensure that health care is accessible, affordable and available for patients when they need it. The AMA believes physicians should not have to worry about potential new causes of action or liability exposure in their attempts to develop new ways to improve the quality and efficiencies of care.
Recent Legislative Accomplishments
Standard of Care Protection Act (MACRA) In addition to permanently repealing the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) also incorporated the Standard of Care Protection Act. That provision prohibits federal quality program standards and performance metrics from establishing a “standard of care” in medical liability actions. The AMA strongly supported this language in the House (H.R. 1473) (PDF) and Senate (S. 1769) (PDF) and its inclusion in the SGR repeal legislation. This MLR effort garnered bipartisan support and was enacted into law.
Current AMA-supported Legislative Initiatives
Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act: This legislation protects health care professionals who volunteer during a federally declared disaster from liability exposure. The AMA has supported this bill in the House (H.R. 1733) (PDF) and Senate (S. 2196) (PDF). It would help ensure that needed medical volunteers are not turned away due to confusion and uncertainty about the application of Good Samaritan laws.
Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act: This bill protects sport medicine professionals by ensuring they are covered by their liability insurance when traveling with their teams or athletes and providing care in another state. The AMA has supported this bill in the House (H.R. 3722) (PDF) and Senate (S. 2220) (PDF). It would help remedy the problem of potential coverage gaps when physicians or other sports medicine professionals travel with their teams across state lines.
Historical Legislative Activities
The Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act contained the most comprehensive liability reform package, which was based off of California state liability protections.
- Letter to Rep. Boehner, Speaker of the House regarding H.R. 5, PATH Act, the combined IPAB Repeal and Medical Liability Reform bill, March 20, 2012 (PDF)
- Sign-on letter to Sen. Murray, Super Committee, urging MLR as part of deficit reduction, Oct. 3, 2011 (PDF)
- Sign-on letter to Rep. Hensarling, Super Committee, urging MLR as part of deficit reduction, Oct. 3, 2011 (PDF)
- American Tort Reform Association paper on the constitutionality of H.R. 5 (PDF, sign-in required)
- We all pay the price for our broken medical liability system (PDF)
- Summary of H.R. 5, the Help, Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011 (PDF, sign-in required)
- AMA letter in support of S. 1099, Senate companion bill to H.R. 5, June 14, 2011 (PDF)
- AMA letter to House Energy and Commerce re: H.R. 5, the HEALTH Act, May 10, 2011 (PDF)
- Sign-on letter of support for H.R. 5, the HEALTH Act, Jan. 25, 2011 (PDF)
- AMA letter of support for H.R. 5, the HEALTH Act, Jan. 24, 2011 (PDF)
- AMA letter to Chairman Smith supporting H.R. 5, the HEALTH Act of 2011, Jan. 24, 2011 (PDF)