PA Hospitals Issue Statement On Defeat Of Constitutional Amendment On Medical Liability

HARRISBURG, Pa., July 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) today issued the following statement from President and CEO Carolyn F. Scanlan in response to the defeat of legislation which would have provided for a constitutional amendment to allow the voters to decide whether the legislature should debate limits on non-economic damages in medical liability cases:

"The failure of the Senate Judiciary Committee to send House Bill 2722, introduced by Representative John Payne, R-Dauphin, to the full Senate for a vote represents a huge setback for Pennsylvanians, and the tabling of the bill in committee denies voters their say on preserving patient access to care and restoring balance to the legal system in Pennsylvania. "Unfortunately, the losers will be all Pennsylvania citizens, who will see their access to care further eroded as the broken medical liability system forces more hospitals to reduce services and more physicians to have second thoughts about staying or establishing their practices in the Commonwealth." Following the tabling of House Bill 2722 in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Scanlan said the hospital community was buoyed by an effort led by Representative Curt Schroder, R-Chester, to move Senate Bill 9 from the House Judiciary Committee through a discharge resolution. "Unfortunately, this bold effort was defeated in the House 107 to 93, dashing hopes to meet the deadline for moving a constitutional amendment forward. "Passing a constitutional amendment in the 2003-2004 session was necessary to give the General Assembly a critical legislative option as early as next year to put the issue before the voters. We are committed to continuing to fight to protect access to health care for all Pennsylvanians and to restore predictability and stability to a broken medical liability system."

Pennsylvania remains as one of only five states without the ability to debate limits on non-economic damages.

HAP is a statewide membership services organization that advocates for nearly 250 Pennsylvania acute and specialty care, primary care, subacute care, long-term care, home health, and hospice providers, as well as the patients and communities they serve. Additional information about HAP is available online at http://www.haponline.org/.

The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania

CONTACT: Eric S. Kiehl, Director, Communications, The Hospital &Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, +1-717-561-5339, Cell:+1-717-329-3825, ekiehl@haponline.org

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