A meeting of the minds on tort reform?

May 1, 2005

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., wants to put politics aside and get momentum behind stalled medical malpractice reform in Congress.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., wants to put politics aside and get momentum behind stalled medical malpractice reform in Congress. Speaking to a group of obstetricians and gynecologists, Frist said he'd be willing to consider insurance industry reforms proposed by Democrats, limits on attorneys' fees, as well as increasing the proposed cap of $250,000 on non-economic damages. He indicated that he would like Democrats and Republicans to be able to "come to the table" to discuss the options.

In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is looking at "administrative options to enact malpractice changes," according to American Health Line (3/16/05). The agency is considering risk-management techniques and new methods to prevent medical errors, and is optimistic about a pilot program enacted in 2004 called Early Offers. The program would allow a patient and a physician involved in a malpractice claim to confidentially and separately submit a settlement amount they think would be appropriate to a third-party administrator. If the amounts are close, the administrator can broker an agreement between the two parties.