Washington Rejects Doctors’ and Lawyers’ Proposals

Washington voters this week rejected two competing measures related to medical malpractice. The first, supported by doctors, hospitals, insurance and pharmaceutical companies, would have capped awards for pain and suffering in medical malpractice cases, and also would have stated that doctors can refuse to serve patients if they do not agree to arbitrate any malpractice claims. The second, supported by the state trial lawyers association, would have revoked the license of physicians who lost three malpractice verdicts in ten years, and would have required public hearings on rate increases for malpractice insurance. Neither measure passed, and now the state legislature is apparently thinking of weighing in.