Legal protection for doctors against ACA-inspired lawsuits

The passage of the Georgia bill, which at this article’s deadline was expected to be signed by Gov. Nathan Deal by the end of April, came as a federal version of the legislation was being reintroduced in Congress. The Standard of Care Protection Act would prohibit health system reform provisions from being construed to establish a standard or duty of care owed by a health professional to a patient in any liability case. A similar version of the bill died in committee at the end of the last Congress.

The Standard of Care Protection Act would ensure that federal laws do not change the way health care professionals practice medicine or treat patients through the threat of liability, said Rep. Phil Gingrey, MD (R, Ga.), the bill’s chief sponsor.

“This legislation provides that lawsuits cannot be brought against health care providers based simply on whether [they] followed national guidelines created by the health care law,” Dr. Gingrey stated in an email. “This bill reinforces my belief that medical decisions must be made between patients and their doctors. The practice of medicine is not one-size-fits-all. It must be protected from policies or rules that may threaten a physician’s ability to treat patients according to their specific needs.”

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