Medical Review Panel Bill Clears House, Returns to Senate
Thursday, March 02, 2017 9:36 AM
Medical malpractice lawsuits can now be filed in Kentucky at any time, but
under a bill passed narrowly yesterday by the Kentucky House, peer review of
malpractice cases would be required before they could go to court.
“Medical review panels” proposed under Senate Bill 4, sponsored by Senator
Ralph Alvarado (R-Winchester) would be required to review any malpractice
complaint against a health provider before a case based on that complaint
could be filed in court. Representative Robert Benvenuti (R-Lexington) stated SB 4
“provides a balanced, unbiased and thoughtful approach for both patients
and health care providers” when he presented the bill to the House on March 1.
SB 4, which passed the House 51-45, would provide mediation on the “front
end” of the medical malpractice process to expedite the process and balance
it out, Benvenuti noted.
The current medical malpractice process “is not a fast process,” Benvenuti stated. “It drags on for years and years and years. It ends by the
judge encouraging, or sometimes ordering, mediation, and both sides get
more of an understanding of their case,” he said.
Each review panel created under SB 4 would be made up of an attorney
chairperson and three Kentucky health care providers licensed in the
medical specialty in question. The panel would issue an opinion that
includes one of three outcomes — that failure to meet appropriate standards
of care was a “substantial factor” in the patient outcome, failure to meet
those standards was not a substantial factor in the patient outcome or
that evidence doesn’t show a failure to meet appropriate standards. That
opinion could then be used as evidence in court.
Only by agreement of all parties could a case bypass a medical review panel
and go directly to court, the bill states.
SB 4 now returns to the Senate for final passage.