FRANKFORT —The Senate approved a bill Thursday on a 24-12 vote that would set up "medical review panels" to consider whether malpractice, abuse or neglect lawsuits have merit before they go to trial.
The panels would consist of three "health care providers." They could take up to six months to decide whether a suit's claim has merit. The suits could proceed in court even if the panels decide they have no merit but the panels' decision could be entered into a trial as evidence.
Supporters say the bill would curb frivolous lawsuits. Opponents say it is not needed.
Senate Minority Leader Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, said the bill now will go to the House, where he predicted it will die.