House initiatives help cut medical malpractice case filings

The number of medical malpractice lawsuits filed in the Commonwealth decreased by nearly 30 percent in 2003, and House Majority Leader Sam Smith (R-Armstrong/Indiana/Jefferson County) credited the drop in filings to a series of House initiatives aimed at alleviating the ongoing malpractice insurance crisis.
Specifically, Smith said the action to eliminate jury shopping – where lawyers seek to file cases in an area where jury awards are typically higher – led to Philadelphia County having the largest decline in case filings at 52 percent.
In addition to other reforms to the malpractice legal system, the House has also worked to improve patient safety, phase out the CAT Fund and reduce frivolous lawsuits.
Bill to boost trauma care sent to governor\’s desk
Pennsylvania trauma centers, which treat the state\’s most severely injured patients and save countless lives each year, will soon get some much-needed assistance under a measure approved by the House and Senate and awaiting the governor\’s signature.
House Bill 100, sponsored by Rep. Curt Schroder (R-Chester County), provides grant funding to accredited trauma centers and requires the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation to establish standards for level three trauma centers. Currently, Pennsylvania only certifies level one and level two centers.
The level three designation will help ensure access to trauma care in underserved areas of the state.
State government committee approves lobbying disclosure measure
Lobbyists, lobbying firms and the organizations they represent would have to register with the Commonwealth and report expenses tied directly to lobbying activities under legislation unanimously approved by the House State Government Committee.
The measure, sponsored by Rep. John Maher (R-Allegheny County), would replace a previous lobbying disclosure law that was ruled unconstitutional by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2002. The measure now goes to the House for consideration.