HOUSE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY

 

March 10, 2003   Hearing Room 357

1:00 p.m. Tapes  72 - 75

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Rep. Max Williams, Chair

Rep. Gordon Anderson, Vice-Chair

Rep. Robert Ackerman, Vice-Chair

Rep. Jeff Barker

Rep. Bob Jenson

Rep. Jerry Krummel

Rep. Greg Macpherson

Rep. Floyd Prozanski

Rep. Lane Shetterly

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  Bill Joseph, Counsel

Ann Martin, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURE/ISSUES HEARD:            Informational Meeting: Medical Liability Insurance/Tort Reform

 

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

Tape 72, A

003

Chair Williams

Opens the meeting at 1:06 p.m. Discusses Medical Liability/Tort Reform and 3-day hearings with committee. Calls up the first panel of presenters: Constance Powell, M.D., Monica Wehby, M.D., Senator Schrader, Bill Long, M.D., and Scott Gallant.

Setting the Stage-Problem Statement

059

Constance Powell

M.D. President, Oregon Medical Association (OMA). Submits testimony and testifies in support of tort reform (EXHIBIT A).

199

Monica Wehby

M.D., Pediatric Neurosurgeon. Submits testimony and testifies in support of tort reform (EXHIBIT B).

390

Senator Kurt Schrader

Senate District 20. Testifies in support of tort reform.

TAPE 73, A

003

Sen. Schrader

Continues his testimony in support of tort reform.

060

Bill Long

M.D. Submits testimony and testifies in support of tort reform (EXHIBIT C).

133

Scott Gallant

Government Affairs, Oregon Medical Association. Submits testimony and testifies in support of tort reform (EXHIBITS D & E).

189

Rep. Prozanski

Asks what Mr. Gallant means by shifting money from one pot to another.

192

Gallant

Explains, says that they will consider any real alternative proposal.

210

Rep. Prozanski

Asks if OMA and their participants are looking to maintain access for

patients and Oregonians, and wanting to keep the premiums reasonable and affordable.

212

Gallant

Answers, that is correct.

218

Rep. Jenson

Asks Dr. Wehby how the malpractice insurance rates in Oregon compare to Washington and California rates.

222

Dr. Wehby

Answers that they are higher in Oregon than in California and explains.

236

Dr. Powell

States that they will get that information and provide it to the committee. Discusses California’s rates.

246

Dr. Wehby

Comments that she has a report from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons on the national data and will give a copy to Rep. Jenson.

250

Vice-Chair Anderson

Asks Dr. Powell if the figure of $1.5 billion is outstanding litigation.

256

Dr. Powell

Says, yes, that is outstanding litigation.

257

Gallant

Responds that in Oregon that translates into an average prayer of 3.3 million for the cases that have been filed.

262

Vice-Chair Anderson

Asks Dr. Long what percentage of the trauma specialists are giving up their practices.

268

Dr. Long

Replies that it depends upon the number of specialties.

282

Vice-Chair Anderson

Asks how many doctors he expects will be practicing in 2004.

285

Dr. Long

Says that he doesn’t have a number.

290

Rep. Krummel

Wonders about Dr. Wehby’s fear of being sued. Asks if that effects decisions that she makes as a surgeon.

296

Wehby

Says not while she’s in the operating room, there is not enough time. Adds that she worries more when she is talking to her colleagues about doctors getting sued.

336

Rep. Krummel

Inquires about doctors treating Oregon Health Plan (OHP) patients outside of their clinic.

353

Dr. Long

Explains how they treat OHP patients.

374

Dr. Powell

Shares physicians’ experiences working in third-world countries compared to here.

389

Vice-Chair Ackerman

Asks Mr. Gallant if a claimant must support his case by expert medical testimony in a medical malpractice case.

394

Gallant

Answers, that is true.

398

Vice-Chair Ackerman

Asks if he is aware of any cases that resulted in large jury verdicts that could have been settled substantially less.

407

Gallant

Responds that it’s a judgment call on the parties.

422

Vice-Chair Ackerman

Notes a case coming out of Douglas County where the claim could have been settled. Asks Mr. Gallant if he is aware of that case.

428

Gallant

Says he is aware of the case, but not the specifics of the case.

 

 

TAPE 72, B

009

Vice-Chair Ackerman

Asks Mr. Gallant if he sees any need for reform such as a mandatory mediation process in medical malpractice claims, in order to have the case settled as early as possible.

013

Gallant

Answers that it would be legitimate to debate except that the Lakin decision makes that unconstitutional.

Access: (Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems)

021

Chair Williams

Introduces the second panel: Dr. Rick Wopat, Senator Morse, and Larry Mullens.

033

Senator Frank Morse

Senate District 8. Submits testimony and testifies in support of tort reform (EXHIBIT F).

088

Larry Mullens

President, Samaritan Health Systems. Testifies in support of tort reform.

194

Dr. Rick Wopat

Samaritan Health Systems. Testifies in support of tort reform.

Costs (NW Physicians Mutual Insurance Co. & CAN)

300

Chair Williams

Introduces the next panel: James Dorigan, Bill Gallagher, Ron Stegeman, Sharon Robinson, Rep. Monnes-Anderson and Rep. Alan Bates.

319

Rep. Monnes- Anderson

Nurse, House District 50. Testifies in support of Medical Liability Reform.

369

Dr. Bill Gallagher

President, NW Physicians Mutual Insurance Co. Testifies in support of tort reform.

TAPE 73, B

024

Rep. Alan Bates

M.D., House District 5. Testifies in support of tort reform.

076

James Dorigan, Jr.

Chief Executive Officer, NW Physicians Mutual Insurance Co. Submits testimony and testifies in support of tort reform (EXHIBIT G).

187

Dorigan

Discusses implementation of a comprehensive tort reform package.

246

Rep. Shetterly

Asks Mr. Dorigan which states that have higher premiums are damage cap states.

272

Dorigan

Answers, none of them. Continues his discussion.

293

Ron Stegeman

CNA Insurance Companies. Submits testimony and testifies in support of tort reform.

306

Sharon Robinson

CNA Insurance Companies. Submits testimony and testifies in support of tort reform (EXHIBIT H).

TAPE 74, A

003

Robinson

Continues her testimony in support of tort reform.

084

Rep. Prozanski

Asks for statistics from NW Physicians Mutual Insurance Co. regarding what happened between 1983 and 1988 when there were no caps in place. Asks for the data on OB/GYN premiums for all 50 states with the caps listed.

107

Rep. Krummel

Asks Dr. Gallagher if a professional liability fund (PLF) scenario would help the problem.

115

Dr. Gallagher

Answers that a PLF would not help physicians. Elaborates.

133

Rep. Krummel

Asks Dr. Gallagher if the monopolization of malpractice insurance would solve the problem.

136

Dr. Gallagher

Answers that they would not want to insure every doctor in Oregon.

147

Vice-Chair Ackerman

Inquires about amounts paid out on several cases.

156

Stegeman

Answers that the majority of those claims are still pending.

165

Vice-Chair Ackerman

Asks if NW Physicians Mutual Insurance Co. has other lines of insurance.

167

Dr.Gallagher

Answers that they are single-line, medical professional liability.

The Call for Action

180

Chair Williams

Introduces panel: Dr. Colin Cave, Dr. Peter Bernardo, Fawn Brandon and J. L. Wilson.

193

Dr. Colin Cave

M.D., Northwest Permanente, Portland. Submits testimony and testifies in support of tort reform (EXHIBIT I).

264

Dr. Peter Bernado

M.D., Submits testimony and testifies in support of tort reform (EXHIBIT J).

351

Dr. Robbie Law

M.D., Reedsport. Submits testimony and testifies in support of tort reform (EXHIBIT K).

Tape 75, A

001

Dr. Law

Continues his testimony in support of tort reform.

028

Fawn Brandon

Patient of Dr. Law. Submits testimony and testifies in support of tort reform (EXHIBIT L).

047

J. L. Wilson

Director, National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB). Testifies in support of tort reform.

106

Chair Williams

Adjourns the meeting at 3:30 p.m.

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

A – Medical Liability Insurance, written testimony, submitted by Dr. Constance Powell, 2 pgs.

B – Written testimony, submitted by Dr. Monica Wehby, 2 pgs.

C – Medical Liability Insurance, written testimony, submitted by Dr. William Long, 10 pgs.

D – Testimony from the Oregon Medical Association, and HB 2492-SB 93, submitted by Scott Gallant, 50 pgs.

E –  Addressing the New Health Care Crisis, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, submitted by Scott Gallant, 34 pgs.

F – Written testimony, submitted by Senator Frank Morse, 2 pgs.

G – Powerpoint presentation, James Dorigan, NW Physicians Mutual Insurance Co., 8 pgs.

H – Medical Liability Insurance, statement of CNA Insurance Companies, submitted by Ronald Stegeman and Sharon Robinson, 6 pgs.

I – Medical Liability Insurance, statement submitted by Colin Cave, M.D., 2 pgs.

J – Written testimony, submitted by Peter Bernardo, M.D., 3 pgs.

K – Written testimony, submitted by Robbie Law, M.D., 3 pgs.

L – Written testimony, submitted by Fawn Brandon, 2 pgs.

M – Written testimony of Bruce Bishop, 17 pgs. (Did not testify, but submitted testimony)