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Utah doctors win ED liability shields

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 6, 2009

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Utah physicians recently won some additional liability protections when Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. approved a bill that raises the burden of proof for claims involving emergency care.

The Utah Medical Assn. sponsored the legislation to help reduce frivolous lawsuits and attract specialists back into struggling hospital emergency departments.

The law, signed March 11, elevates the burden of proof from a "preponderance of the evidence" to "clear and convincing evidence" as long as the physician did not have a preexisting relationship with the patient, did not treat the patient for the same condition within the past three months and did not have access to the patient's relevant medical records while making emergency care decisions.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2009/04/06/prbf0406.htm.

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