NewsPublic Affairs / January 26, 2016

Effort To Reform Indiana's Medical Malpractice Law Stalls

A Senate bill to reform Indiana's medical malpractice law died after talks broke down between all the groups involved.  - stock photo

A Senate bill to reform Indiana's medical malpractice law died after talks broke down between all the groups involved.

stock photo

INDIANAPOLIS -- A Senate bill to reform Indiana's medical malpractice law died after the bill's author says talks broke down between all the groups involved. 

Republican Sen. Brent Steele says he thought an agreement was reached as recently as last week, but that communication between hospitals, trial lawyers and doctors quickly became convoluted.

"You and I can both be sitting at a table, and I'm saying something and you're saying something, and we think we're on the same page until you see it in black and white and then you say 'Well that's really not what I thought it was,'" Steele said.

He refused to give specifics because he was worried it might damage future negotiations.

The bill raises the amount someone can collect for a single malpractice incident. Many question the constitutionality of Indiana's cap, which is $1.25 million, because it hasn't been raised since it was set in 1999.

Steele says despite the delay, everyone admits that a bill needs to pass.

"And I don't know if it's next session or the session after that, but everybody knows that the clock is ticking," he said.

When lawmakers investigated the issue last September, an Indiana State Medical Association lobbyist argued raising the cap would drive up costs for doctors.

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