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Medical Review Panel Bill Back In Republican-Led Kentucky State Senate

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For the fourth straight year, a bill that would establish medical malpractice review panels has been introduced in the Kentucky General Assembly.

Republican Senator Ralph Alvarado is proposing the legislation, which would create a board of three physicians and one attorney to review cases to determine if they have legal merit.

Alvarado says the measure would keep frivolous lawsuits from clogging the legal system and blemishing doctors’ reputations with malpractice cases.

“Right now Kentucky has one of the nation’s most litigation-friendly environments, making our commonwealth a prime and profitable target for personal-injury lawyers preying upon our healthcare providers," Alvarado said.

The bill is supported by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, which says that fewer malpractice suits will create a better business climate for the healthcare industry.

Critics of the bill say claims of excessive malpractice cases are overblown and that if the panels are established, their rulings could lead to favoritism for defendant hospitals and doctors.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives for Kentucky Public Radio, a group of public radio stations including WKMS, WFPL in Louisville, WEKU in Richmond and WKYU in Bowling Green. A native of Lexington, Ryland most recently served as the Capitol Reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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