August 2002 Bulletin

American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Call to Action

AAOS urges fellows to speak up about medical liability crisis

As everyone knows, we are in the midst of another major medical liability crisis. Costs to each of us are increasing and major reforms are slow in coming. Wouldn’t it be terrific if we all enjoyed the major changes that occurred in California with the passage of the MICRA legislation (Medical Injury Compensation and Recovery Act) in the late 1970s!

The reason we are writing to each member of the AAOS is to enlist your help and activism. Just last week President Bush, in a speech in North Carolina labeled medical liability a national issue and called for major reform—a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages and monetary awards should reflect a defendant’s level of culpability and not the wealth of the physician or hospital. However, many in Congress believe liability is a state issue and not a federal one. In addition to this latter major hurdle of course are the plaintiff attorneys and certain advocacy groups who will oppose efforts at reform.

We are asking each of you to personally contact your congressmen and senators and voice strong support for President Bush’s proposals and most importantly let us attempt to make this a national issue that our federal government needs to reform. Also, now is the time to contribute to the Orthopaedic PAC! We must have our voices heard if there is going to be any major changes to the current liability crisis. We must let everyone in Congress and the White House know all 18,000 Orthopaedic Surgeons in the United States want medical liability reform.

The AAOS Washington office recently distributed a legislative e-mail alert providing you more information on how your voice can be heard on this important issue, specifically in the House of Representatives, which soon may consider, H.R. 4600, the Health Efficient, Accessible, Low Cost, Timely Healthcare Act. (Health Act). If you didn’t see this communication, call the Washington Office at (202) 546-4430 or visit their Web site at:

Now is the time to for us speak up.


American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Presidential Line

Vernon T. Tolo, MD, President
James H. Herndon, MD, First Vice President
Robert W. Bucholz, MD, Second Vice President

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