After having spent much of the last two weeks in a coma, a medical malpractice tort reform "pill" that doctors, lawyers, hospitals, and other healthcare providers can swallow will shortly pass out of State Senate and House committees, according to NashvillePost.com sources. However, just because it will pass doesn't mean anybody will like it.
Earlier this month, NashvillePost.com reported that sweeping changes to Tennessee laws covering medical malpractice and liablity claims were within reach. Healthcare providers and trial lawyers were actually agreeing on action, something almost unheard of in the State Capitol.
The early news turned out to be too good to be true, as talks on final language of a bill disintegrated to the point of collapse.
Today, NashvillePost.com has learned that all sides have come back to the table and have agreed on legislation that isn't as ambitious as anyone had hoped. In fact, most involved are unhappy with what the "final" bill accomplishes, but any agreement is seen as a major step forward toward resolving other issues down the road.
According to legislation that will be filed later today, lawyers will have to give written notice to each physician or health care provider against whom a claim is being made at least 60 days prior to the filing of a complaint based upon medical negligence in any Tennessee court.
Also, within ninety days after filing a complaint involving any medical negligence action in which expert testimony will be brought in, a plaintiff or plaintiff's counsel must file a "Certificate of Good Faith" that states that they have consulted with a medical expert and there is reason to proceed with the case. Those who violate this rule on three occasions would be subject to penalty.
More precise language of the bill will become available when the bill is filed. Language capping the amount a plaintiff can sue for will not be in the bill.