March 3, 2016

Bill Would Cap Medical Malpractice Claims At $1.8 Million

INDIANAPOLIS -- House lawmakers Wednesday adjusted a measure that would reform the state’s medical malpractice system, but they acknowledged the bill isn’t a finished product.

Indiana’s medical malpractice cap is $1.5 million. It hasn’t been raised in nearly two decades. That’s lead to concerns about its constitutionality, and the bill aims to fix that.

The bill came out of committee with a plan to raise the current cap next January and raise it further in 2019, 2023 and 2027.

An amendment approved on the House floor Wednesday eliminates those last two increases; the bill would now only raise the cap twice. And it would top out at $1.8 million in 2019.

Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, is also an emergency room doctor. He says work on the bill, including the amendment, is about compromise between all the stakeholders.

“This is an amendment that doesn’t make everybody happy, so it must be a good amendment,” Brown says.

Lawmakers also expanded the list of who’s considered a provider under the law and slightly increased the pay to members of the medical malpractice review panel.

The bill will be up for passage by the House Thursday and its sponsors say, if approved, it will go to a conference committee for further work.

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