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Wed February 16, 2005
Medical Review Panel Undergoes Surgery in Senate Committee
Cheyenne, WY – Legislation to create a Medical Review Panel has taken yet another turn. A number of amendments in a State Senate Committee have dramatically changed the bill's makeup. The Panel is supposed to screen medical malpractice cases and determine whether they should be heard in court. The house version of the bill had one lay person, two attorneys and two medical providers. The Senate version as it heads to the floor now has three health care providers, two lay people, and no attorneys. This obviously got the attention of Tom Jubin of the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association, who says the bill is now weighted toward the medical community. Jubin says it is appropriate for medical expertise to play a role on the panel, but it also needs expertise in solving disputes, where the legal community comes in. The bill was also changed to make the committee agree that over half the evidence shows that malpractice occurred...before allowing a lawsuit to move forward. Senator Charlie Scott thinks it's a much stronger bill which could make the review panel work, but Senator Mike Massie will fight the changes on the Senate floor.