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Doctors & Lawyers Speak Out Against Patient Injury Act

Both the the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (GTLA) and Medication Association of Georgia (MAG) have both spoken out against Senate Bill 141, a bill that was created to replace the state’s medical malpractice system with a worker’s compensation-like review board.

The bill, which is known as the Patient Injury Act, is backed by a group of healthcare administrators and providers called Patients for Fair Compensation. The group claims the bill will curb unnecessary and costly medical procedures, allow for more injured patients to receive compensation, and speed up the claims process.

SB 141 was filed by Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta on February. Neither beach nor the other for senators who are sponsoring the bill is a lawyer.

This controversial bill has been called unconstitutional by former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers based on the state Supreme Court’s 2012 decision in Atlanta Oculoplastic Surgery v. Nestlehutt, 286 Ga. 731. In this case, justices unanimously overturned the state law setting caps on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases.

In addition to claims that it is unconstitutional, GTLA and MAG have criticized the measure for being bureaucratic and costly.

GTLA asserts the new system “would be manned by biased healthcare providers sitting in judgment of their colleagues.” MAG says the new system would increase the number of claims against doctors and hospitals.

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