The University of Miami's teaching hospital, Jackson Memorial, pays $40 million a year in malpractice insurance costs. The president of the university, former Clinton HHS Secretary Donna Shalala, is lobbying for what would amount to a $150,000 cap on damages -- total damages, including out-of-pocket economic damages from medical expenses and lost wages. The effect would essentially be to immunize teaching hospitals in Florida from medical malpractice lawsuits. The Miami Herald reports that the bill is likely to pass; if so, it will create an interesting experiment in the effect of malpractice liability on healthcare costs and results, since there will be two regimes side-by-side in the state, one for teaching hospitals and one for regular hospitals.
Also pending in Florida are efforts to narrow liability for slip-and-fall accidents and to establish medical standards for proving injury in an asbestos claim to ensure that it's the injured plaintiffs who recover. (Mary Ellen Klas, "Proposal to limit lawsuits against doctors advances", Apr. 21).