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Liability Reform

For many physicians, the medical liability crisis represents the largest single threat to their ability to continue practicing and their patients' ability to access quality health care. This is especially true for those practicing in high-risk specialties like emergency medicine. While efforts to address this crisis at the federal level have yet to succeed, a number of states have enacted meaningful liability reforms in recent years to help rein in skyrocketing premiums and strengthening requirements for expert witnesses, and recognizing the need for special liability proctection for providers of emergency care.

The resources on this page are intended to assist chapters and members in pursuing liability reforms in those states that have not yet responded to this crisis. Informational resources include an examination of the different elements of comprehensive liability reform and a review of state liability laws and the status of the liability environment in each state. Other advocacy tools include data and studies that show the effectiveness of liability reform; recommendations and other key advocacy materials to assist chapters in the pursuit of liability protection for emergency care providers. The State Legislative Office and the State Legislative/Regulatory Committee are also available to assist chapters in advocating for liability reform. Interested chapters should contact Craig Price in the State Legislative Office.

circle_arrowExemplary Statutory Language
The ACEP State Legislative/Regulatory Committee, working with members of the Medical-Legal Committee, has developed the attached document containing exemplary state legislative language related to nine different facets of medical liability law.

circle_arrowState by State Comparison on Liability Reforms and Market Conditions
Tracks state liability reforms and some of the key measures of the liability environment, including general information (where available) on liability insurance rates, insurance availability and changes in physician availability. Information is updated as warranted in an effort to help track the impact of state reforms and assist chapters in better indentifying effective reform efforts.

circle_arrowChapter Resources on Pursuing Special Liability Protection for Emergency Care
In the past few years several states have enacted special liability protections for emergency care providers. These resources are designed to assist chapters in understanding these provisions, and equip them with advocacy materials that can be utilized in pursuing this legislation.
     Enacting Special Liability Protection for Emergency Care Providers
     Sample Legislation
     Sample Testimony
     Sample Talking Points
     Report Findings on the Impact of the Liability Crisis on Emergency Care

circle_arrowEnacting Liability Reforms in Reform-Resistant States
An information paper developed by the 2009-2010 State Legislative/Regulatory Committee to assist state chapters in identifying and pursuing those elements of liability reform that have the best chance of passage in states that have failed to enact comprehensive reforms.

circle_arrowReports and Studies on Liability Reform
Reports, studies and data from third-party organizations providing a thorough examination of the liability issue and providing facts and data that support the cause of liability reform.

circle_arrowState Liability Reform Presentations and Testimony
The State Legislative/Regulatory Committee is building a database of presentations and legislative testimony related to liability reform. The database will provide information and techniques to develop their presentations to key audiences in their states. (If you have made a presentation or provided testimony on the need for liability reform, please consider submitting it for inclusion in our database. You can send it to Craig Price in the State Legislative Office.)

circle_arrowImpact of Texas Liability Reforms
In 2003 Texas enacted comprehensive liability reforms and passed a constitutional amendment that assured the legislature's constitutional authority to cap damages in medical liability cases.  Since that time, the reforms have had a remarkable impact on liability insurance rates, the availability of insurance, the supply of practicing physicians and the number and amount of medical liability awards in the state.  

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