American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Background

Medical liability in the U.S. is criticized as being costly, inefficient, and inconsistent. This broken system is failing both doctors and patients alike. For more than 40 years, numerous reform efforts have failed to pass legislation that contains costs, stabilizes liability insurance premiums, and meaningfully promotes patient safety.

Federal Legislative Priorities

Liability Protections for Volunteers

Large scale disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes, and flooding have highlighted the need to ensure physicians who seek to lend their expertise and assistance to victims are not turned away because of the threat of medical liability lawsuits.

S. 1350, the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act, would provide liability protections to medical professionals who volunteer in a federally declared disaster.

The ACS fully supports this legislation and anticipates the introduction of companion legislation in the House.

Read the ACS Letter of Support for the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act.

Improve Liability Protections for Trauma Providers

The Emergency Medical Treatment And Labor Act (EMTALA) mandates that a physician provide care to stabilize a patient who presents at a hospital emergency department. Surgeons in emergency settings provide complex, high-risk surgical care for severely injured patients, often with minimal information about the patient. Unfortunately, the high liability risk associated with providing such care is broadly acknowledged as a key factor in the growing shortage of specialists participating in emergency on-call panels.

The Health Care Safety Net Enhancement Act, H.R. 3984 will help to address this problem by providing Federal Tort Claims Act liability protections to on-call and emergency department physicians.

Read the ACS Letter of Support for the Health Care Safety Net Enhancement Act.

State Affairs Legislative Efforts

Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act (UEVHPA)

See a list of the states that have enacted UEVHPA.