The state House of Representatives once again passed on an opportunity to better understand the real-world effects of last year’s medical malpractice venue rule change.
This week, House Resolution 165 was before the entire chamber for consideration. The resolution directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) to conduct a study on the effect of workforce shortages on State supported Medicaid home and community-based services waiver programs and the Pennsylvania Lottery funded Area Agency on Aging Programs and Act 150. The resolution directs LBFC to determine whether medical assistance reimbursement rates and other funding impact recruitment and retention.
In order to gain a more holistic picture of outside forces that are impacting workforce issues, Rep. Donna Oberlander, R-Clarion, proposed an amendment that called for the LBFC to examine whether increases in liability insurance rates experienced by the providers of State supported Medicaid home and community-based services waiver programs and the Pennsylvania Lottery funded OPTIONS programs since 2018, are being impacted by the rampant venue shopping that is occurring since the Supreme Court rescinded the medical malpractice venue rule effective January 1, 2023.
As previously noted in PCCJR communications, medical malpractice cases filed in Philadelphia have skyrocketed since the reversal of the venue rule went into effect on January 1 of this year. The massive nuclear verdicts coming out of Philadelphia drive up the cost of liability insurance. A crisis is brewing for all medical providers that conduct any business in Philadelphia.
PCCJR supported the Oberlander amendment because it would help to obtain a better understanding of the implications of the venue rule change. Higher liability premiums result in increased financial pressure on these providers which means less money for attracting an adequate workforce. Policy makers should not stand by while wealth is transferred to plaintiffs’ attorneys at the expense of those caring for vulnerable Pennsylvanians.
Unfortunately, the Oberlander amendment was defeated by a vote of 102 to 101. Click here to see how legislators voted.