PRINTER'S NO.  171

  

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA

  

HOUSE BILL

 

No.

171

Session of

2009

  

  

INTRODUCED BY GODSHALL, BAKER, BARRAR, BENNINGHOFF, BEYER, BOYD, CLYMER, CREIGHTON, EVERETT, FAIRCHILD, GROVE, HORNAMAN, HUTCHINSON, KILLION, KORTZ, MOUL, MUSTIO, O'NEILL, PAYNE, PYLE, REED, REICHLEY, SAYLOR, STERN, SWANGER, TURZAI AND GINGRICH, FEBRUARY 2, 2009

  

  

REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON INSURANCE, FEBRUARY 2, 2009  

  

  

  

AN ACT

  

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Amending the act of March 20, 2002 (P.L.154, No.13), entitled

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"An act reforming the law on medical professional liability;

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providing for patient safety and reporting; establishing the

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Patient Safety Authority and the Patient Safety Trust Fund;

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abrogating regulations; providing for medical professional

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liability informed consent, damages, expert qualifications,

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limitations of actions and medical records; establishing the

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Interbranch Commission on Venue; providing for medical

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professional liability insurance; establishing the Medical

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Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund; providing for

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medical professional liability claims; establishing the Joint

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Underwriting Association; regulating medical professional

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liability insurance; providing for medical licensure

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regulation; providing for administration; imposing penalties;

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and making repeals,"providing for hospital care or assistance

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necessitated by traumatic injury immunity.

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The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

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hereby enacts as follows:

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Section 1.  The act of March 20, 2002 (P.L.154, No.13), known

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as the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (Mcare)

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Act, is amended by adding a section to read:

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Section 517.  Hospital care or assistance necessitated by

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traumatic injury immunity.

 


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(a)  General rule.--Except as provided in subsection (b), a

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hospital that in good faith renders care or assistance

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necessitated by a traumatic injury demanding immediate medical

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attention, for which the patient enters the hospital through its

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emergency room or trauma center, may not be held liable for

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noneconomic and punitive damages to or for the benefit of any

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claimant arising out of any act or omission in rendering that

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care or assistance if the care or assistance is rendered in good

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faith and in a manner not amounting to gross negligence or

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reckless, willful or wanton conduct.

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(b)  Exception.--The limitation on liability provided

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pursuant to this section does not apply to any act or omission

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in rendering care or assistance:

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(1)  which occurs after the patient is stabilized and is

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capable of receiving medical treatment as a nonemergency

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patient, unless surgery is required as a result of the

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emergency within a reasonable time after the patient is

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stabilized, in which case the limitation on liability

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provided by subsection (a) applies to any act or omission in

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rendering care or assistance which occurs before the

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stabilization of the patient following the surgery; or

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(2)  unrelated to the original traumatic injury.

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(c)  Rebuttable presumption.--There is a rebuttable

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presumption that a medical condition that arises during the

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course of follow-up care was the result of the original

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traumatic injury and that the limitation on liability provided

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by subsection (a) applies with respect to the medical condition

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that arises during the course of the follow-up care if:

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(1)  a physician provides follow-up care to a patient to

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whom he rendered care or assistance pursuant to subsection

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(a);

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(2)  a medical condition arises during the course of the

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follow-up care that is directly related to the original

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traumatic injury for which care or assistance was rendered

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pursuant to subsection (a); and

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(3)  the patient files medical professional liability

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action based on the medical condition that arises during the

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course of the follow-up care.

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(d)  Definitions.--As used in this section, the following

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words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this

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subsection:

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"Hospital."  The term includes any of the following:

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(1)  A hospital accredited as a Level I or Level II or

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pediatric trauma center by the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems

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Foundation under the act of July 3, 1985 (P.L.164, No.45),

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known as the Emergency Medical Services Act, and which is a

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nonprofit organization.

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(2)  An employee of a hospital described in paragraph (1)

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who renders care or assistance to patients.

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(3)  A physician who renders care or assistance in a

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hospital described in paragraph (1), whether or not the care

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or assistance was rendered gratuitously or for a fee.

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(4)  A physician who renders care or assistance in a

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hospital of a governmental entity that has been designated as

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a center for the treatment of traumatic injuries, whether or

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not the care or assistance was rendered gratuitously or for a

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fee.

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(5)  A hospital as defined in section 103.

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"Reckless, willful or wanton conduct."  That conduct which a

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person knew or should have known at the time he rendered the

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care or assistance would be likely to result in injury so as to

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affect the life or health of another person, taking into

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consideration to the extent applicable:

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(1)  the extent or serious nature of the prevailing

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circumstances;

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(2)  the lack of time or ability to obtain appropriate

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consultation;

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(3)  the lack of a prior medical relationship with the

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patient;

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(4)  the inability to obtain an appropriate medical

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history of the patient; and

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(5)  the time constraints imposed by coexisting

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emergencies.

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"Traumatic injury."  Any acute injury which, according to

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standardized criteria for triage in the field, involves a

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significant risk of death or the precipitation of complications

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or disabilities.

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Section 2.  All acts and parts of acts are repealed insofar

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as they are inconsistent with the provisions of this act.

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Section 3.  This act shall take effect in 60 days.

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