Napa, California—January 9, 2012—The Doctors Company, the nation’s largest medical malpractice insurer, announced that important tort reforms have been signed into law today in Michigan. The Michigan State Medical Society, with significant support from The Doctors Company and its trade organization, the Michigan Insurance Coalition, initiated the legislation known as the “Patients First Reform Package.”
The Patients First Reform Package, comprising Senate Bills 1115 and 1118, was approved by the House and Senate this fall and signed today by Gov. Rick Snyder. The bills restore and improve tort reform measures passed in 1993. Those measures established protections against meritless cases and disproportionate jury awards but were eroded over time by activist court rulings.
Senate Bill 1115 clarifies that loss of society or companionship constitutes noneconomic damages and is therefore subject to Michigan’s noneconomic damages limit. The bill also provides how future damages are calculated to prevent judicial errors in reducing awards to present value. Senate Bill 1118 limits the time period for suing on behalf of a deceased person and bans prejudgment interest on costs and attorney fees incurred during the time before a judgment is issued.
“The governor and state legislature took action to put patients first,” said John G. Bizon, MD, president of the 16,000-member Michigan State Medical Society. “By supporting reforms that protect Michigan seniors, children, and families and empowering physicians to keep their eyes fixed on what is best for their patients, lawmakers stood up for quality health care.
“These common sense reforms are a tremendous first step towards a healthier Michigan and better access to care. Physicians across the state applaud the governor and look forward to working with the legislators on additional efforts that put Michigan patients first.”
“The passage of this legislation is a tremendous win for Michigan’s physicians as it mitigates the need to practice defensive medicine,” said Richard E. Anderson, MD, FACP, chairman and CEO of The Doctors Company. “We are a company that was founded by physicians who came together in the 1970s to pass historic legislation on behalf of doctors and tort reform in California. To this day, we continue to be a leader in advocating for and defending medical liability reforms throughout the nation.”
About The Doctors Company
Founded by doctors for doctors in 1976, The Doctors Company (www.thedoctors.com) is relentlessly committed to advancing, protecting, and rewarding the practice of good medicine. The Doctors Company is the nation’s largest medical malpractice insurer, with 73,000 members and $4 billion in assets, and is rated A by A.M. Best Company and Fitch Ratings.
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About the Michigan State Medical Society
The Michigan State Medical Society is a professional association of more than 16,000 Michigan physicians. Its mission is to promote a health care environment that supports physicians in caring for and enhancing the health of Michigan citizens through science, quality, and ethics in the practice of medicine. Please visit www.msms.org for more information.