It is expected that a Patient Protection measure called the Troy and Alana Patient Safety Act of 2014 will be on the ballot in November. This will do a number of things like random drug and alcohol testing of doctors with privileges in hospitals. It also will test after adverse situations to a patient. It will also raise the cap on non-economic damages from $250,000 to a little over $1 million. The current limit of $250,000 was signed into law in 1975 and has not been increase. The new cap is adjusted for inflation.
This measure is being brought forth by Consumer Attorneys and is opposed by the California Medical Association. There are other pro and con supporters but I will not go into detail about. The argument made in favor of this is that about 10% of doctors have substance abuse problems. They point out that Medical Malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the country trailing Heart disease and cancer. They also argue that the $250,000 cap has not been raised for almost 40 years.
The CMA argues that this will drastically increase health cost and that the drug testing has been included so they can have something that resonates with voters but their real interest is to increase the malpractice cap. They also argue that the testing after an adverse situation will not hold up in court because I believe it has to be done three days after and the doctor may not necessarily be on duty.
This is going to be a highly contested issue and millions of dollars will be spent by both sides. What do you think?
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