June 2002 AAOS Report

AAOS Fellows urged to contact Congress for passage of H.R. 4600

Escalating professional liability premiums have orthopaedic surgeons in several states in a crisis mode. Nationally, AAOS seeks to reform the medical liability system by urging AAOS Fellows to contact members of Congress to support H.R. 4600, "The Help Efficient, Accessible Low Cost, Timely Health Care Act (HEALTH) of 2002." The HEALTH Act was introduced by a bipartisan group of legislators, including Rep. James Greenwood (R-Pa.), Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.), Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.), Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), Rep. Charles W. Stenholm (D-Texas), Rep. Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.), Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.) and Rep. Ken R. Lucas (D-Ky.). During the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference held April 24-27, 2002, dozens of orthopaedic surgeons packed an April 25th Capitol Hill press conference to support the introduction of H.R. 4600. During the press conference, John D. Kelly IV, MD, associate professor and vice chairman of the department of orthopaedic surgery, Temple University in Philadelphia, provided personal testimony of his experience with increased professional liability insurance rates and how patient access to specialty care is being compromised. H.R. 4600 is modeled after the California Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act and includes a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages, but exempts states with laws that allow higher caps.

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