Circulation 36,825 • Volume 18, No. 3 • Fall 2003

Florida Legislation Includes New Safety Initiatives

In August 2003 the Florida Legislature passed a compromise tort reform bill which was signed into law by Governor Jeb Bush. This bill contained safety measures along with a $500,000 cap on noneconomic damages. The patient safety provisions included a requirement for hospitals to establish patient safety plans and committees. In addition this legislation broadens immunity for hospitals and staff who take disciplinary actions against medical staff and requires hospitals and physicians to inform patients of an adverse incident. Such notification is not to be considered an admission of liability.

Health care training programs at college and university levels are also required to provide instruction in patient safety, and physicians will also be required to have training in misdiagnosis as part of ongoing continuing medical education requirements. While this legislation fell short of the tort reforms desired by physicians and malpractice insurers, the safety initiatives are to be commended.