Federal medical liability legislative activities


The AMA strongly supports comprehensive medical liability reform (MLR) including liability protections similar to successful reforms in California.

Medical liability reform, MLR (PDF) 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.

H.R. 5, the “Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011 looks to successful state reforms such as MICRA (California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975) as a model for improving health care for all Americans.

The legislation will fill in the gaps left by states that have not been able to adopt their own reforms.

Read a summary of H.R. 5 (PDF) and analysis about the constitutional foundation for federal medical liability reform (PDF).

Download and review correspondence from the AMA to lawmakers in support of the legislation

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 ActThat 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.

The 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.