Legislative Column for the Week of May 4, 2015
Limiting Malpractice Lawsuits

On Thursday, May 7, I was very happy to speak about Senate Bill 239 as it was signed into law by the governor in a short ceremony at the new St. Mary’s Hospital in Jefferson City.

With the increasing frequency of frivolous malpractice lawsuits, insurance premiums for medical providers were beginning to drive medical professionals out of Missouri and into states with more reasonable caps on these personal injury lawsuits.

A similar bill passed in 2005 was struck down by the Missouri Supreme Court in 2012, which opened the floodgates for further litigation and higher costs for medical professionals. SB239 sets clear and concise guidelines for non-economic “pain and suffering” claims, but includes provisions for additional compensation for extreme cases.

Frivolous malpractice lawsuits negatively affect everyone in the chain, from the providers to the patients, as the increased costs are passed down the line. This legislation will help curb this type of litigation, and will encourage insurance providers to set more competitive rates. This will attract and keep more quality doctors and healthcare providers in Missouri.

I thank the good folks at St. Mary’s Hospital for hosting the event and for supporting our legislation.

I always encourage my constituents to feel free to contact me throughout the year with comments, questions or suggestions by calling my office at (573) 751-5713. To find more information about the bills I sponsor, or visit www.senate.mo.gov/brown.

Thank you for reading this and for your participation in state government.