HB 6678 & SB 1154: Liability Legislation
Protect your access to care:
Say NO to HB 6687 and SB 1154
In the next few weeks, two important bills will come to a vote in the Connecticut state legislature: HB 6687 and SB 1154. These bills will have a major impact on Connecticut patients and their doctors.
How You Can Help
Call or email your legislators, and ask them to vote against HB 6687 and SB 1154. Click here to find your legislators. For more information on HB 6687 (Certificate of Merit) and SB 1154 (Accidental Failure of Suit), please scroll down.
These two bills will not help patients or their doctors. They will make it harder to control healthcare costs, and tougher for claims of merit to be heard. They will also make it harder for Connecticut doctors to care for their patients.
HB 6687 - Certificate of Merit (COM)
In 2005, Connecticut passed a law to prevent frivolous lawsuits. This law requires a Certificate of Merit to file a medical liability lawsuit. Before a suit can be brought, the doctor’s care is reviewed by another doctor trained in the same specialty. The reviewing doctor will decide if the care met the standards of the specialty. Reviewers are anonymous, but physicians know that the person reviewing their care is trained in the same specialty.
• If the standards of care were not met, the reviewing doctor will give a Certificate of Merit and the case can move forward.
• If the standards of care were met, the reviewing doctor will not give a Certificate of Merit. The case will be dismissed.
This law is working for Connecticut patients. It has been upheld by state courts. Patients who receive a Certificate of Merit for their lawsuits do not get stuck behind a backlog of meritless claims.
HB 6687 would weaken the Certificate of Merit law. It would allow any “qualified” physician to review a case. This means that the doctor reviewing the claim could be trained in a different specialty. It does not help patients when a cardiologist’s care is reviewed by an OB-GYN, or a pediatrician’s care by an eye surgeon.
Despite this change, reviewers will remain anonymous. Physicians will have no way of knowing whether the person reviewing their care is trained in the same specialty.
SB 1154 - Accidental Failure of Suit (AFS)
As the law now stands, a claim can be re-filed if it was dismissed for “inadvertent or excusable neglect” on the part of the plaintiff’s attorney. This law is working for Connecticut patients, too. Claims with merit are given appropriate hearings. The courts are not slowed down by meritless claims.
SB 1154 would expand the current AFS law, and allow any dismissed medical claim the chance to re-file – even if the cause for dismissal was a denial of Certificate of Merit.
Last Updated ( Monday, 06 May 2013 )