July 2004 AAOS Report

Liability reform campaign takes shape

The AAOS medical liability reform campaign is making strides, reports Stuart L. Weinstein, MD, AAOS first vice president. In March 2003, the AAOS Board of Directors Oversight established the Medical Liability Reform Campaign and funded it with $1 million of Association funds. It also launched a fund-raising effort that sought member support. The Medical Liability Reform Oversight Committee structured a program to help achieve meaningful, constitutionally sustainable medical liability reform at the state level and organized a national campaign for federal medical liability reform.

One successful component of the campaign targets state reform. A series of grants were provided to help state orthopaedic societies in this effort. The first grant went to Texas, where real liability reform became a reality in September 2003. Other grants have been awarded to the New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, Mississippi and Georgia orthopaedic associations. The AAOS also has provided special help to achieve liability reform in Pennsylvania and Missouri.

Achieving reform on the federal level will be long and expensive and cannot be done alone. In June 2003, in conjunction with the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the AAOS helped establish Doctors for Medical Liability Reform (DMLR), a national coalition of 11 medical specialty societies representing more than 230,000 physicians. DMLR is the largest coalition dealing with medical liability reform. Dr. Weinstein serves as co-chair of the DMLR. The fundamental strategy is to target key states with Senate races in play this November because the main obstacles to meaningful reform is the U.S. Senate.

If you want to join the AAOS Medical Liability Reform campaign, please make your personal or corporate check payable to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons and send it to AAOS, 6300 N. River Road, Rosemont, Ill. 60018, Attn: Medical Liability campaign. Credit card contributions are also welcome.

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