Alliance says medical liability reform should play a key role in summit

TRENTON, N.J. – The New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance (NJLRA) lauded the State Senate’s passage of S-173, sponsored by Senator Robert Singer, which would require the Department of Health and Senior Services to conduct a study of New Jersey’s looming doctor shortage.

“The New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals warned us in 2010 that New Jersey will be short nearly 3,000 doctors by 2020 if preventative measures are not taken,” said Marcus Rayner, executive director of the Alliance. “This is on top of the current 12% gap between physician supply and demand.

“It’s encouraging that the Legislature is taking this issue seriously and trying to avert a crisis situation.

“New Jersey’s doctors, especially those in high-risk specialties, carry some of the highest liability insurance premiums in the country. It is becoming harder for the average physician to undertake the expense of practicing in New Jersey when so many other states have enacted cost-saving liability reform during the past several years.

If enacted, S-173 would convene a strategic planning summit of stakeholders. The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) would be required to report findings and recommendations to the Governor and Legislature six months after enactment.

The legislation was approved by a vote of 40 – 0. It awaits action by the General Assembly.