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Tort reform proposal dies

State health care organizations wanted a pilot project to look at something other than a hard-nosed “deny and defend” response to a medical error.

But the proposal from the Joint Commission on Health Care died this afternoon when the civil subcommittee of the House Courts of Justice Committee voted to carry House Bill 306 over to next year. The bill was about to die for lack of a motion when its patron, Del. John O’Bannon, R- Henrico, asked subcommittee Chairman Clay Athey, R-Warren, to dispose of the measure with a bit more dignity. O’Bannon is a neurologist.

Under the proposal, a health care provider would promptly and fully disclose an error and propose a resolution of a claim before suit is filed.

The disclosure and proposed resolution would be privileged and inadmissible if a suit were filed.

Mic McConnell, a Richmond lawyer who was the only personal injury attorney on the commission that developed the proposal, spoke against it. He said it is unreasonable to expect someone under the physical and emotional strain of a bad medical outcome to fully comprehend the situation immediately.

By Alan Cooper

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