Medical Malpractice Protection for ER Doctors Advances
The House Judiciary committee has favorably reported HB 385 by an 11-2 vote. The proposal would grant sovereign immunity protection to emergency physicians. Current law provides that claims under sovereign immunity protection are limited to $200,000 per person and $300,000 per incident.
The bill finds that ensuring access to emergency medical services is an important goal of the state. Emergency room physicians are required by law to deliver care without regard to payment or other provisions for care. This ultimately leads to providing a significant amount of uncompensated emergency care. In order to assist with mitigating the cost of medical malpractice insurance for physicians rendering this care, the bill would amend Section 768.28, Florida Statutes, providing a limited waiver of the state’s sovereign immunity protection.
The bill passed the committee by a wide margin over objections from opponents who suggest that bringing ER doctors under the state’s protection will lead to increased claims costs against the state and more claims bills being filed in the legislature.