PA House Passes Legislation that Will Further Strain State’s Health Care System

In late June, the state House of Representatives moved forward with legislation (HB 106) that will impose impossible staffing ratios that will put some hospitals out of business and raise costs for others. This legislation would only exacerbate the strain health systems across the Commonwealth are already facing due to the state’s updated medical malpractice venue rule.

As we have previously written, under the new venue rule, doctors and hospitals as far away as Reading and Lancaster are being hauled into court in Philadelphia in hopes of high-jury verdicts. Previously, malpractice cases could only be heard in the county in which the alleged incident took place. As a result of the rule change, malpractice insurers are already starting to raise premiums in direct response to the venue rule. As premiums increase, health care costs will continue to grow and health care services will be limited.

To help address this growing health care crisis, Rep. Torren Ecker offered an amendment to the legislation that would have prohibited HB 106 from taking effect until venue in medical malpractices cases returns to the previous rule. This amendment would prevent double harm to health care systems that would result from pairing the new venue rule with the impossible staffing requirements of HB 106. Unfortunately, the amendment did not garner enough votes to pass.

House Bill 106 ultimately passed the House and is awaiting consideration by the Senate. 

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