The Bergen County Medical Society reform draft Page 3
standard to meet. Often when a judge reduces an award it is reinstated at the
Appellate level. The bill would allow a judge to change an award if it is clearly
inadequate, excessive, or disproportionate due to a jury's passion or prejudice or
the medical condition.
Good Samaritan If a physician, who is not required to respond to emergencies
as part of being on-call, responds to an emergency, that physician is not liable for
any good faith actions taken. A plaintiff treated in an emergency situation cannot
sue, in most instances, for failure to obtain an informed consent.
Board of Medical Examiners Reporting Pending or final criminal proceedings
for certain serious crimes must be reported to the BME. BME reporting of license
actions is extended to psychiatric hospitals. Where the BME has requested
documents from an entity but decides not to take any disciplinary action, that fact
must be reported to the entity.
Quality Improvements Patient safety plans are required for health care
facilities. A facility's self-critical analysis of events is protected from discovery.
Every serious preventable adverse event must be reported to the state so that
the state can work on safety improvements and spot problems. This information
is confidential. Voluntary anonymous reporting for all adverse events and near
misses is encouraged.
Dual Memberships A person may not serve as both as an officer or board
member of a medical liability insurer and a health care professional association.
An insurer can only have on its board one former association officer or board
Purchasing Alliances Physicians may join together in purchasing alliances to
purchase medical liability insurance.
Insurance Deductibles, Right to Settle, and Installments Insurers are
required to offer policies with deductibles from $10,000 to $1 million. Every
insurer must offer the option of making payments in installments. Insurers may
require right to settle clauses with premiums.
Limitations of Passing on Costs Insurers may not increase the policy
premium of an insured based upon spending less than $10,000 to remove that
insured from a case or merely because the insured was named in an intent to file
document. It is unclear who will pay for these costs.
Insurance Certifications A CEO or CFO must annually certify that rates
charged are adequate to ensure the safety and soundness of the insurer.
Capitalization Reviews The Commissioner of Banking and Insurance is
required to review the capitalization and reserves of liability insurers.