Senator Fasano Proposes Task Force on Tort Reform

January 24, 2003

State Senator Len Fasano (R-34th) is introducing a bill addressing the issue of medical malpractice suits. The purpose of the bill is to reduce the high cost of medical coverage and to ensure high quality of medical care. Proposed Bill Number 229 would establish a tort reform task force to discuss and explore significant reforms with the current system. The task force would consist of a wide cross section of people in the industry including insurance companies, lawyers, a judge of the Superior Court, and persons representing the interests of medical care providers. Legislative members of the joint standing committees having cognizance over matters relating to courts, medical care and insurance would also sit on the task force.

“It is critical to see that the interests of all parties involved in these often complicated procedures are well represented on this task force,” said Senator Fasano, who represents East Haven, North Haven and Wallingford. “Open dialogue is the always the most efficient means of addressing an issue, and I am confident that the task force will propose some meaningful and long-lasting reform beneficial to all parties, and especially Connecticut citizens in need of health care.”

The task force would be required to report its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly no later than January 15th, 2004. California, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Mississippi have already passed legislation placing limitations on malpractice suits.

“It has been reported that doctors have begun refusing to take on new patients because of high costs of malpractice insurance,” said Senator Fasano. “It is upsetting to see the threat of a lawsuit limit the type of care they offer to their patients. Even worse is the threat of doctors taking their practice out of Connecticut because of the escalating costs of protecting themselves against these suits.”

Doctors have blamed the increasing malpractice insurance on high jury awards. They also contend that they have practiced more defensively because of the constant threat of lawsuits causing an increase in medical costs. Lawyers have countered that market forces are more to blame for the increasing rates.

“We need to stop the accusations and assumptions and instead look at the issue objectively, from a variety a perspectives,” concluded Senator Fasano. “I do not want healthcare in Connecticut to be compromised due to litigation.”