Florida Medical Association calls on Scott to limit lawsuits against doctors

Jan 13, 2011

The following news release was issued by the Florida Medical Association on January 13, 2011:

Florida Medical Association calls on Scott to limit lawsuits against doctors

The Florida Medical Association hand delivered a letter on Wednesday to Gov. Rick Scott outlining the organization’s intent to champion limits on lawsuits while pitching the efforts as economic development.

The largest doctor’s organization in the state contends that if changes are made to limit medical malpractice lawsuits then more private practice physicians would open offices in the state and more people would be hired.

According to a study–conducted by the FMA and the Florida State University Center for Economic Forecasting & Analysis–each individual physician practice in 2009 on average supported 19 jobs and $913,000 in salaries. Included in the job total are employees who work at doctor’s offices but also those who are employed by companies whose business is supported by the economic activity in a physician’s offices, such as supply companies that support manufacturing jobs as well as sales people.

In all, physician practices in 2009 supported 451,500 jobs in 2009, or about 5 percent of total employment in the state. By 2020 the annual impact of private physicians’ offices will include almost 650,000 jobs that pay more than $41 billion in wages.

“We stand with you in your efforts to make Florida a better place to live and work by eliminating excessive litigation, which drives physicians out of our state and limits access to care,” the letter reads.

The FMA is working with leadership in the House and Senate on sponsors for their legislative proposals, which include requiring medical expert witnesses to register with the state and to provide sovereign immunity to doctors who treat patients who enter the hospital through the emergency room.  The FMA also supports providing sovereign immunity to physicians who treat Medicaid patients.