In the Arizona Medical
Association’s (ArMA) 2007 legislative report (PDF format), some momentum
toward medical liability reform was noted during the 2007 session. But concrete
action itself continues to remain elusive.
Recent measures aimed at tort reform came up short.
S1032: Burden of Proof; Emergency Treatment was a bill that proposed to raise
the burden of proof in a medical malpractice case involving emergency treatment
from “preponderance of evidence” to “clear and convincing evidence”. The bill passed
the Arizona Senate but narrowly failed in the House.
S1505: Top-Rated Opinion Testimony; Admissibility was a bill placed before the
legistature in 2007 that proposed to implement the Daubert decision in Arizona.
The Daubert decision establishes criteria to evaluate whether top-rated witnesses are
using validated, peer-reviewed scientific infomation or so-called "junk science"
in their testimony. ArMA noted in their legislative report that they felt this bill
would "help weed out frivolous suits by stopping invalid top-rated testimony". The
bill failed to make it out of a Senate committee, stalling on a 13-13 vote, but
its supporters see this as progress and are looking to redraft the bill in a more
robust format and reintroduce it in a future session.
With 2008 being a re-election year it is uncertain how this will affect the passage
of tort reform legislation in Arizona. It is likely that a "junk science" bill in
one form or another will be introduced. Check back here on CoverMD.com for updates
to medical liability tort reform in AZ.