Medical Review Panel legislation passes out of Senate committee

The Kentucky state Senate voted Wednesday in favor of moving forward with legislation seeking to address the heightened costs directly attributed to Kentucky’s uncontrolled medical liability ambience, an issue of serious concern for Kentucky employers and taxpayers who foot bill in terms of direct employee benefit costs and higher taxes.

The Senate Health and Welfare Committee voted Wednesday to pass Senate Bill 6, a bill establishing Medical Review Panels.

The legislation, sponsored by Senator and Doctor Ralph Alvarado of Winchester, focuses on medical malpractice liability which takes a significant financial toll on Kentucky’s health care providers, including nurses, doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes that serve our communities. The growing number of meritless lawsuits against providers increases costs for consumers and reroutes critical funds away from care.

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dave Adkisson testified in front of lawmakers Wednesday to express the need to return the focus and resources of health care where they belong — on caring for patients.

“It’s time to return the focus and resources of health care where they belong, on caring for patients, not fighting lawsuits,” Adkisson said.

Adkisson also noted that every state surrounding Kentucky has protection for medical providers and is truly a competitiveness issue in terms of recruiting physicians.

Also testifying in front of the committee was Dr. Shawn Jones, an ENT doctor with Baptist Health Paducah. Jones told lawmakers the current liability climate makes it difficult to practice medicine in the state. Jones added that doctors enter the medical profession to help people which is hard to do under the current system but stated he believes Senate Bill 6 will make Kentucky more attractive to physicians and stabilize the state’s health care environment.

Hear testimony from Alvarado, Adkisson and Dr. Jones in the video below:

Senate Bill 6 now heads to the full Senate for a floor vote.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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