April 11, 2003

Medical Liability
Governor's task force releases much anticipated report.
Physician protest possible in an effort to protest medical malpractice
Commonwealth Foundation releases report supporting caps.
State News
State House leader passes away.
Perzel - next speaker?
Information on health-related Federal-funding Opportunities.
Federal News
Budget process continues in DC.


 

Medical Liability
Governor's task force releases much anticipated report. Last week the Governor's Medical Liability Insurance Crisis Task Force delivered its reports to the Governor. Included in the report are recommendations for short-term relief that the administration has committed to acting on, along with recommendations for action and areas for further study in patient safety, insurance (both medical liability and health insurance), and tort reform. While the report lays out arguments for and against further tort reform for limits on nonecomic damages, it does not make any specific recommendation stating that the issue needs to be studied more closely. The Governor has received the report and is expected to make a public statement about the longer-term actions and reform by the end of the month.

Physician protest possible in an effort to protest medical malpractice. The Pennsylvania Medical Society is calling on physicians across the state to participate in a "political protest," (referred to as "Code Blue Emergency"), beginning the week of April 28th. The protest is designed to seek immediate government action on the medical liability crisis in Pennsylvania and is patterned after similar actions in New Jersey. The Health System and CPUP and CCA physicians are actively engaged in advocacy efforts for further medical liability reform while assuring continued access to needed services for our patients.

Commonwealth Foundation releases report supporting caps. The Commonwealth Foundation, a public policy research and educational institute based in Harrisburg, released a report on the medical liability crisis recently. The report notes that placing reasonable limits on the amount of non-economic damages that are typically awarded by sympathetic juries can significantly restrain increases in the cost of malpractice premiums. According to the Foundation, "establishing a high quality, free-market health care environment where costly litigation is the exception rather than the rule is the best way to ensure that there are even more qualified "doctors in the house" for Pennsylvania patients.

State News
State House leader passes away. Pennsylvania House Speaker Matthew J. Ryan (R-Delaware) lost a battle with cancer. Ryan served over 40 years as a state representative and was first elected house speaker in 1981. He was elected speaker for another two-year term in 1995 and for each successive term since. Ryan's body lay in state at the Capitol, an honor last granted to President Lincoln. Speaker Ryan was a true champion for his constituents, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Health System.

Perzel - next speaker? With the death of House Speaker Matthew Ryan, Majority Leader Perzel (R-Philadelphia) is likely to be elected speaker when the House returns on April 15th. In the line to be the next majority leader is House Majority Whip Sam Smith (R-Clearfield).

Information on health-related Federal-funding Opportunities. The following was drawn from information collected by Melissa Peerless in the University's Office of Government Community and Public Affairs. This listing of Notices, RFAs, and Program Announcements was issued by various federal agencies between March 31 to April 4, 2003.

Federal News
Budget process continues in DC.
As previously reported, the Senate passed a budget resolution that does not include further Medicare and Medicaid funding cuts. The House and Senate are now in the process of reconciling their differences in a conference committee. The House passed resolution contains more than $90 billion in Medicaid cuts.


The Government Relations Weekly Update is provided by the
Office of Government Relations of the University of Pennsylvania Health System

Shelly Krycia or Alan N. Rosenberg
Government Relations Office
University of Pennsylvania Health System
2021 Penn Tower/4385
Phone: 215-349-5136
Fax: 215-662-3910

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