Volume 115, No. 1
January 2019 Edition

We Need Your Help to Oppose a Pa. Rule Change That is a Direct Threat to Our Profession

We Must Act Now

Pennsylvania's Civil Procedural Rules Committee is considering an amendment that would allow medical liability lawsuits to take place outside the county where the suspected malpractice took place. If approved, the change would let prosecutors cherry-pick venues - essentially go to counties where they believe they have the best chance to win the case.

History has shown that if the amendment is approved there will be more lawsuits and higher premiums for all physicians.

The Philadelphia County Medical Society has joined a coalition led by the Pennsylvania Medical Society, to oppose this rule change. The only way to stop the rule change is to flood the Committee with personal comments before the February 22 deadline for comments.

Why the Proposed Rule is a Bad Idea

By allowing venue in counties with little or no relation to the case, claimants could shop for a verdict-friendly venue in which to file their lawsuits. This would lead to higher premiums for medical liability insurance and make Pennsylvania a less attractive place for physicians to practice.

I'm a Good Physician. Why Would This Have an Impact on Me?

If you're a young physician you're probably not aware of the medical liability mess Pennsylvania was in during the early 2000s. Medical malpractice insurance rates were spiking because in part, lawyers could search for sympathetic venues for their cases. Physicians were leaving the state in droves to find more reasonable medical malpractice insurance rates. This proposed rule change would bring us back to those dark days.

If you're an employed physician your hospital or health system likely pays your medical premiums. But the proposed change would jack up rates, and that money must come from somewhere - your compensation, patient care innovations and other improvements. You could end up having to pay for a percentage of your liability premiums.

What You Can Do

There is strength in numbers. We need all physicians, medical students and other health care practitioners to contact the Civil Procedural Rules Committee before the deadline for comments -- February 22. PAMED and PCMS will also be submitting formal comments.

E-mail is the preferred method for submitting comments. Comments should be sent to:

Karla M. Shultz, Counsel

Civil Procedural Rules Committee
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Judicial Center
P.O. Box 62635
Harrisburg, PA 17106-2635
Fax: (717) 231-9526

For More Information...

Go to www.pamedsoc.org/VenueRule to learn more. You can download an executive summary, a comprehensive overview, as well as learn how to take action.

With a few clicks, you can fill out an online form that will send your comments right to the Committee. Please personalize your comments. Your personal stories will have a huge impact.

But act now. We need your help today.

Philadelphia County Medical Society | stat@philamedsoc.org
215-563-5343 | http://philamedsoc.org