The Kentucky Senate took an important step in the fight to address the growing crisis in Kentucky of baseless lawsuits by personal injury attorneys against health care providers in the Commonwealth by passing Senate Bill 119. It is time for the House to take up this measure for a vote. The increased costs of fighting meritless lawsuits, many from out-of-state personal injury attorneys, impact health care costs through higher premiums paid by businesses and individuals. Worse, these cases clog our Courts and slow down the process for victims of actual wrongdoing. It is time for the Kentucky House of Representatives to take action and pass this important legislation. Every state that borders Kentucky has already taken action to curtail predatory attorneys – most have capped non-economic damages to curtail unreasonable “pain and suffering” payouts.
Senate Bill 119 takes a measured and reasonable approach to weed out junk lawsuits, while protecting and expediting the process for legitimate claims. SB 119, sponsored by state Senator Julie Denton, would put in place a review panel with expert physicians, one chosen by the claimant, one by the medical professional accused and a third agreed-upon expert to review the facts and provide this information to the Court. This system would, like it works in Indiana, accelerate legitimate claims for victims while providing a deterrent to the mass produced “sue and settle” lawsuits that plague Kentucky because of legislative inaction on this important issue.
The Kentucky Chamber strongly supports SB 119 and is working with a broad coalition of business and health care groups from across the state to pass this legislation this year. To learn more about our effort, visit Care First Kentucky. Read the recent editorial House should OK medical review panels from Business First Louisville that details the strong need for this legislation. To better understand how this impacts your health care in Kentucky, read Meritless lawsuits weaken health care published in the Herald-Leader by Dr. Andrew Henderson. The most important thing you can do to help us address this issue this year is to pick up the phone for two minutes and leave your state representative a brief message. Call 1-800-372-7181 and let the operator on the legislative message line know that you would like for your state representative to “Ask for a vote this year to pass Senate Bill 119, a bill to enact medical review panels.” Let’s send the predatory personal injury lawyers to another state and protect the truly injured in our state. The phone call is the most effective way to reach your representative, but if you would prefer, you can send your representative an email from our website.