SENATE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY

 

 

March 20, 2003                                                                                             Hearing Room HR 343

8:00 a.m.                                                                                                                         Tapes 64-65

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:         Sen. John Minnis, Chair

Sen. Ginny Burdick, Vice-Chair

Sen. Ted Ferrioli

Sen. Charlie Ringo

Sen. Charles Starr

Sen. Vicki Walker

 

 

STAFF PRESENT:                 Craig Prins, Counsel

Jane Bodenweiser, Committee Assistant

 

 

MEASURE/ISSUES HEARD:           SB 194 Public Hearing

                                                SB 743 Public Hearing

                                                SB 497 Public Hearing

                                               

 

 

 

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 64, A

004

Chair Minnis

Calls the meeting to order at 8:10 a.m. and opens a public hearing on SB 194.

SB 194 PUBLIC HEARING

013

Floyd Lanter

Department of Consumer and Business Services. Submits testimony and testifies in support of SB 194 that revises securities law. (EXHIBIT A).

034

Sen. Ringo

Asks for clarification of page 6, line 45 of the bill regarding investment advisors.

040

Lanter

Explains the two categories of investment advisors.

064

Chair Minnis

Closes the public hearing on SB 194 and opens a public hearing on SB 743.

SB 743 PUBLIC HEARING

073

Tim Kral

Oregon Rehabilitation Association.  Submits testimony and testifies in support of SB 743 that extends tort liability coverage through Oregon Department of Administrative Services to private community care providers that provide services to persons with developmental disabilities or mental illness (EXHIBIT B).

098

Chair Minnis

Remarks that liability insurance is becoming more difficult for the caregivers of persons with developmental disabilities or mental illness.

119

Frank Moore

Oregon Department of Human Services.  Submits testimony and testifies in opposition to SB 743 (EXHIBIT C).  Explains that the department cannot support it because it is not in the Governor’s Balanced Budget.

147

Chair Minnis

Closes the public hearing on SB 743 and opens a public hearing on SB 497.

SB 497 PUBLIC HEARING

170

Sen. Frank Morse

Senate District 8.  Testifies in support of SB 497 that authorizes physicians, hospitals, pharmacies and certain other health care providers to require person to sign waiver of certain damages as condition of providing health care services to person.

278

Dr. John Sattenspiel

Family practice physician, Salem, Oregon.  Testifies in support of SB 497. Says that this bill helps to remove the concerns of medical malpractice under the tort system.

353

Dr. Tom Clark

Internist, Albany, Oregon.  Testifies in support of SB 497.  Discusses the increase in malpractice insurance and how it is going to be paid.  Says lawsuits are a huge cost to the system.

TAPE 65, A

034

Dr. Debra Johnson

OB/GYN.  Testifies in support of SB 497.  Talks about giving up her obstetric practice.  Says Salem has lost 9 physicians this last year.

072

Dr. Sattenspiel

Talks about a situation in John Day, Oregon where family physicians have stopped doing obstetrics because of the cost of liability coverage.  Says he is having to turn people away.

097

Dr. Robert Poole

Urologist, Corvallis, OR.  Testifies in support of SB 497.  Says Corvallis is losing their doctors.  Says he has been actively recruiting for three years with no result. Provides an internet recruitment flyer to committee (EXHIBIT D).

192

Sen. Ringo

Wonders if tort caps are the answer, and wonders if Oregon should implement a self-insure program.  Asks if there is a willingness by physicians to consider this.

240

Dr. Sattenspiel

Says Oregon’s Northwest Physicians Mutual is being hit as hard as the doctors.

256

Sen. Ringo

Asks for some statistical data.  Contends that there is a need in our society to hold people accountable.

282

Dr. Poole

Says there is no such thing as perfect medicine.  States that there is accountability and then there is excess.

312

Sen. Ringo

Admits this is a problem in our state and feels strongly about finding a solution.

319

Dr. Sattenspiel

Says the system assigned to assess a value for injuries and damages is not working. 

344

Sen. Ringo

Responds that settlements are so large because it is so expensive to bring action.

360

Sen. Walker

Asks how this bill addresses the tort system.

367

Dr. Sattenspiel

Explains that this bill puts a contractual cap on the non-economic damages.

422

Sen. Starr

Talks about his mother’s knee surgery.  Says he is very supportive of this bill and anything that will take this problem out of the tort system.

488

Larry Mullens

President, Samaritan Health Services. Testifies in support of SB 497.

TAPE 64, B

118

Sen. Ringo

Asks what the legislature should do to improve the peer review process.

124

Mullens

Expresses the need for early reporting and follow-up.

158

James Dorigan, Jr.

Northwest Physicians Mutual Insurance Co.  Submits testimony and presents a power point presentation in support of SB 497 (EXHIBIT E).

255

Sen. Walker

Asks for an explanation of indemnity payments.

257

Dorigan

Explains that it is the payment made to an injured party.

262

Sen. Ringo

Asks if that includes defense costs.

266

Dorigan

Says, no.

 

281

Sen. Walker

Asks what percentage of cases filed are being paid out.

283

Dorigan

Says about 25% of the cases filed are paid.

294

Sen. Ringo

Asks what percentage of cases that go to trial are won by the defense.

299

Dorigan

Replies, about 75%.

315

Bill Joseph

Committee Counsel.  Asks what happens to the cases that do not go to trial.

319

Dorigan

Says they are dismissed or not pursued.  Continues testimony discussing a number of statistics.

405

Sen. Ringo

Asks if the financial records of Northwest Physicians Mutual are available.

419

Dorigan

Says he is happy to provide those records.

443

Chair Minnis

Asks about loss reserves.

446

Dorigan

Says 98% of premiums is set aside.

467

Sen. Morse

Comments that this is a policy issue that is adversely affecting Oregon.

TAPE 65, B

025

Michael Alexander

Oregon Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA). Submits testimony and testifies in opposition to SB 497 (EXHIBIT F).

095

Sen. Walker

Asks about previous testimony regarding increases in costs.

100

Alexander

Says he does not see a crisis in making affordable insurance available to all physicians if they are willing to share the risks.

168

Chair Minnis

Believes there are areas of concern in the Professional Liability Fund (PLF).

177

Alexander

Says the PLF is there to protect lawyers and the public.  Continues testimony in opposition to SB 497.

234

Sen. Walker

Agrees that this bill is not the way to reform.

250

Chair Minnis

Wonders about the insurance monopoly issue.

256

Dorigan

Says contracts are not upheld that seek to waive basic rights for the delivery of necessities.

375

Vice Chair Burdick

Asks if the PLF provides incentives to identify lawyers with problems and provide assistance.

392

Dorigan

Says, yes, the PLF is very aggressive in that regard.

421

Vice Chair Burdick

Wonders about medical specialties sharing the cost of premiums.

436

Dorigan

Explains that there are higher premiums for people with high claims.

460

Chair Minnis

Closes the public hearing on SB 497.  Discusses his plans for further meetings on this bill. Talks about the public hearing on SB 742, and adjourns the meeting at 10:00 a.m.

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

A – SB 194, written testimony submitted by Floyd G. Lanter, 4 pp

B – SB 743, written testimony submitted by Tim Kral, 1 p

C – SB 743, written testimony submitted by Frank Moore, 2 pp

D – SB 743, Internet recruitment submitted by Dr. Robert Poole, 1 p

E – SB 743, power point presentation submitted by James T. Dorigan, 8 pp

F – SB 497, written testimony submitted by Michael Alexander, 1 p

G – SB 743, written testimony submitted by Jeffrey Davis, 1 p

H – SB 743, written testimony submitted by David Hartwig, 3 pp 

I – SB 497, written testimony submitted by Rose Spears, 2 pp