MAG encouraging lawmakers to pass crucial tort reform bill

The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is encouraging legislators to pass a bill – S.B. 390 – that has been introduced by Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) that would reform the state’s rapidly-declining tort environment in crucial ways to ensure that Georgians have access to the physicians they need for generations to come.

“Much of the significant progress that we made when tort reform (S.B. 3) was passed in the state in 2005 has been lost as a result of unfavorable court decisions, including a Georgia Supreme Court ruling that struck down the cap on non-economic damages, and trial attorneys who have used legal loopholes to expand liability to the detriment of Georgia’s health care community,” explains MAG President Andrew Reisman, M.D.

Dr. Reisman is applauding Sen. Gooch for his vision and leadership, as he believes that, “It is essential to reform the state’s tort system to avoid a crisis that could see physicians cut back on high-risk services, relocate, or simply retire because they can’t afford or obtain medical malpractice insurance.”

S.B. 390 would…

– Eliminate “phantom damages,” which is the difference between what a patient is billed and pays for the care they receive – something that can translate into much higher medical malpractice awards.

– Modernize the state’s ‘Civil Practice Act’ to improve and streamline the process for lawsuits.

– Allow trials to be bifurcated, which would allow the same judge and jury to consider liability and damages in separate phases for cases that are valued at more than $150,000.

Georgia ranks sixth on the ‘Judicial Hellholes’ Top 10 list for 2019-2020, and it is near the bottom (41st) of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Lawsuit Climate Survey’ for 2019 – and keeping in mind that the most recent ‘County Health Rankings and Roadmaps’ program report found that Georgia already has the ninth fewest doctors per capita.