Californians Allied for Patient Protection (CAPP) which includes the California Medical Association, announced an agreement on proposed legislation to modify California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 (MICRA). CAPP stated, “After decades of debate about the need to ensure health care that is accessible and affordable for all while balancing appropriate compensation for Californians experiencing healthcare-related injury or death, this agreement strikes a new balance by doing two things:
- Extending the long-term predictability and affordability of state liability protections for those providing medical care in California; and,
- Providing a fair and reasonable increase to limits on non-economic damages (there is no cap on economic damages such as medical costs or lost salaries) for medical malpractice starting January 1, 2023 – with gradual increases thereafter.
The revised framework includes several provisions that would update MICRA while continuing its medical liability protections. The most central provision would change the limits on non-economic damages. Current law limits recovery of non-economic damages to $250,000. The proposal will increase the existing limit to $350,000 for non-death cases and $500,000 for wrongful death cases on the effective date of January 1, 2023. This will be followed by incremental increases over 10 years to $750,000 for non-death cases and $1,000,000 for wrongful death cases, after which a 2.0% annual inflationary adjustment will apply.”
According to CAPP, “Under this agreement, the rights of patients are protected, as are MICRA’s essential guardrails ensuring broad-based health access. More significantly, this compromise demonstrates a unified commitment by all stakeholders to put the interests and wellbeing of Californians ahead of historic conflicts. In doing so, we continue to ensure that, in America’s largest state, patients and their families are cared for in all ways.”
Click here to read CAPP’s full press statement.
The day after this announcement, AB 35 (Reyes) was amended to reflect what was negotiated between the initiative’s backers, CAPP, and others. You may view the bill language here. AB 35 will be heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee Tuesday, May 3, at 9 a.m. SYASL will monitor and report.