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06/15/2024 12:42 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: March 8, 2024 09:56 AM
From: Senator David G. Argall
To: All Senate members
Subject: Certificate of Merit in Medical Liability Actions
In the early 2000’s, a medical liability crisis occurred in Pennsylvania which resulted in high liability premiums, the curtailing of high-risk services, and the closure of maternity wards across the Commonwealth. In order to address the situation, a series of legislative and judicial actions were taken in 2002, including the Certificate of Merit rule which requires any person who brings a claim against a medical professional to provide a certificate of merit either at the time of filing that claim with the Court or within sixty days of bringing the claim.

In August of 2022, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed a rule set in place 20 years ago which was credited with decreasing the number of frivolous lawsuits and bringing health care services back to people across the Commonwealth. In order to ensure that another medical liability crisis does not happen in Pennsylvania, I will introduce legislation to update the Medical Care Availability and Reduction Error Act in order to increase transparency on how claims of medical liability are reviewed on their merit.

Specifically, this legislation will do three main things:
  1. define and establish the credentials of a licensed professional who reviews a claim of medical liability;
  2. establish a process where the statement of the licensed professional who has reviewed the claim will be shared with the medical professional defending the claim and will require that the statement is shared at the time of filing the certificate of merit, regardless of whether an attorney or unrepresented party is the person who prepared the certificate of merit; and 
  3. require, as part of the statement, that the licensed professional be identified, and their curriculum vitae be included as part of the certificate of merit filing.
Once signed into law, this legislation will reduce delays in litigation, reduce potential litigation costs and facilitate early resolution of claims without the delay of unnecessary litigation. It will also ensure that qualified medical professionals are able to manage their practice costs, such as liability insurance, while also empowering medical facilities to recruit and retain qualified medical professionals who are concerned with current practices.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this effort.

Introduced as SB1182