February 2004 Bulletin

AAOS supports state medical liability reform efforts

By Susan Koshy, JD, MPH

The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Medical Liability Reform Campaign (MLRC) is geared up to fight for the passage of tort reform in 2004 at both the state and federal level. The components of the MLRC include a public relations effort to educate the public and policy leaders on the need for tort reform, the targeting of key U.S. senators to push for federal legislation, and financial and other assistance to state orthopaedic societies to help pass tort reform at the state level.

Frank B. Kelly, MD (right) secretary of the AAOS Board of Councilors and past president of the Georgia Orthopaedic Society (GOS) and Sherri Hill (left) executive director of the GOS, present a check for $20,000 to Michael Greene, MD, president of the Medical Association of Georgia, in support of their joint effort on medical liability reform.

State update
As part of the Associationís commitment to support state medical liability reform, the AAOS set aside funds for state orthopaedic societies in passing tort reform legislation. To date, the AAOS has provided approximately $185,000 in grants to the state orthopaedic societies in Florida, Texas, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Georgia. These funds proved beneficial to the state orthopaedic societies in Texas and Florida in their successful efforts to secure passage of tort reform in those states.

Not only is the AAOS providing direct financial assistance to state societies, but it also developed products that state orthopaedic societies can use in their reform campaigns. The AAOS, along with a national public relations firm, has developed a strong public relations campaign to educate the public and legislators on the need for medical liability reform. The campaign includes radio and print advertising available to every state orthopaedic society. State orthopaedic societies can also share the ads with the reform coalitions in their state.

In addition, a toolkit was created to help state orthopaedic societies generate support for tort reform. The tool kit includes a patient brochure, letters to legislators from patients and physicians, a Q&A document, a point-counterpoint fact sheet, a letter to the editor, an op-ed piece and much more.
A Web site at (www.pactproject.org) is now available and includes information and materials for physicians and the general public on the need for reform (see December 2003 Bulletin p. 19). Furthermore, the AAOS is targeting two crisis states, Pennsylvania and Missouri, and providing more in-depth assistance to these state orthopaedic societies. The lessons learned from these state efforts can then be used to assist other crisis states.

Contributions needed
The AAOS is committed to working toward the passage of medical liability reform. However every orthopaedic surgeon needs to assist state orthopaedic societies and the AAOS in this fight. The Association is requesting that every orthopaedic surgeon contribute $1,000 to the MLRC, although donations of all denominations are welcome.

Your contribution will be used to further the efforts for federal and state tort reform. As the AAOS receives contributions for this campaign, additional grants and in-depth assistance can also be given to state orthopaedic societies in furtherance of their efforts for tort reform. Your help is needed to pass meaningful reform. Contributions can be made by either personal or corporate check or credit card and can be mailed to:

American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons
6300 N. River Road
Rosemont, IL 60018
Attn: Medical Liability
Reform Campaign

Susan Koshy, JD, MPH, is manager in the AAOS department of socioeconomic and state society affairs. She can be reached via e-mail at koshy@aaos.org.

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