Emergency Physicians Lobby for Bill That Would Protect Against Malpractice Suits

Emergency physicians are urging Florida Gov. Rick Scott to support a bill that would provide sovereign immunity for physicians when they treat patients in hospital emergency departments, according to a Naples Daily News report.

The Florida College of Emergency Physicians is a strong supporter of H.B. 385 and S.B. 614. The bill would protect physicians in EDs in a similar fashion to government entities that are limited to lawsuit damages of $200,000. The philosophy behind the bill is that capped liability will reduce defensive medicine costs.

It is also believed to help address another problem: specialists not practicing in EDs due to malpractice exposure. The executive director of FCEP said the bill is a "patient protection issue, not a payment issue," since the shortage of specialists in EDs can harm patient care.

The Florida Justice Association has objected to the bill and lobbied against sovereign immunity measures, saying the bill limits victims' rights and would shift liability costs to taxpayers.

Related Articles on Emergency Dept. Physicians:

Study: For-Profit Hospitals More Likely to Close ERs
Hospitals Increasingly See Opportunity in Walk-Ins, Standalone ERs
ED Visits Rise by Almost 10% in 2009

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