March 2004 AAOS Report

AAOS, DMLR launch campaign for federal medical liability reform legislation

The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), as a founding member of Doctors for Medical Liability Reform (DMLR), a newly formed coalition of 230,000 specialty physicians, unveiled a national media campaign to urge U.S. senators to support federal medical liability reform legislation, including caps on noneconomic damages awarded in medical liability cases. The campaign was announced on Feb. 10 at press briefings in Washington, D.C., in Seattle, and in Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C. The Washington D.C. news conference is available for viewing via Internet streaming video at: (RealPlayer or WindowsMedia Player software required).

Participants in the national press conference included Stuart L. Weinstein, MD, AAOS second vice president and DMLR's vice chair. "I am here today representing the AAOS because we passionately care about our patients," said Dr. Weinstein, "and I am dismayed to report to you that orthopaedic care is in jeopardy in a growing number of states. When we witness orthopaedic surgeons limiting the scope of their practices, retiring early or leaving certain states altogether, we should all be gravely concerned about access to quality orthopaedic care. We need federal medical liability reform before our health care delivery system completely collapses and access to orthopaedic care is severely restricted."

DMLR has run full-page advertisements in USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. As part of its education campaign, DMLR's "Protect Patients Now" initiative features 30-minute television newsmagazine programs that are airing in specific states, beginning immediately in Washington and North Carolina. In the TV newsmagazine programs, the story of the crisis is told by physicians, patients, public officials and concerned citizens, who are deeply troubled by decreasing access to health care brought on by the liability crisis. During the programs, citizens are asked to call their U.S. senators and urge them to support federal medical liability reform legislation.

For a complete description of this multi-faceted campaign, log on to the DMLR Web site.

Joining the AAOS in this effort are the following specialty physician organizations, which are also members of the DMLR: Neurosurgeons to Preserve Health Care Access, American College of Emergency Physicians, Society of Thoracic Surgeons, American College of Surgeons Professional Association, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Cardiology, American Academy of Dermatology Association, National Association of Spine Specialists and American Urological Association.

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