Pa. sees tort reforms working

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 19, 2005

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Pennsylvania tort reforms have rippled into effect as medical malpractice case filings across the state dropped 34% in 2004, compared with the average rates for 2000 to 2002. Statistics from the state Supreme Court also showed that in Philadelphia, which had been a hotbed for lawsuits, filings plummeted 54% for that same period.

According to court officials and the Pennsylvania Medical Society, two key judicial reforms in the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act of 2002 are credited for the change. The new law prohibited venue shopping by requiring that a lawsuit be filed in the county where the incident occurred. The law also began requiring lawyers to file a certificate of merit. The medical society says more reforms are still needed.

The American Medical Association lists Pennsylvania as being in a medical liability crisis because insurance premiums are driving doctors there to retire early, eliminate high-risk procedures or move out of state.

Pennsylvania Medical Society President Mark Piasio, MD, said the statistics point to good, common-sense reforms that have rooted. But he said, "we're not done."

Note: This item originally appeared at

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