Kentucky Senate approves bill to create medical panels to review health care lawsuits

jbrammer@herald-leader.comFebruary 19, 2014 

FRANKFORT — Over strong objections from Democrats, the state Senate voted 23-13 Wednesday night to approve a bill that would create panels of medical experts to review proposed legal claims against health care providers.

Democrats, led by Sen. Ray Jones of Pikeville, contended the bill would be an impediment to nursing home patients who wanted to take their cases to court. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, disagreed.

Under the bill, review panels would have three medical experts. Each side represented in the case would select a panelist, and the third would be selected by the other two experts.

The panel would render an opinion about whether standards of care were violated. It would not make a finding of fact or conclusion of law, but its opinion would be admissible in court.

Cases would be reviewed within six months, ensuring a timely process while protecting plaintiffs' access to court, according to backers of the bill.

The bill now goes to the Democratic-controlled House, where it has not been received favorably during previous legislative sessions.

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