Governor brokers bipartisan compromise on medical malpractice legislation
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday brokered a bipartisan agreement with Senate Majority Floor Leader Peter Wirth and Senate Minority Floor Leader Greg Baca that would revise New Mexico’s medical malpractice law. Senate Bill 523 unanimously passed the Senate Tax, Business and Transportation Committee today.
“This is a major breakthrough for both medical providers and patients in New Mexico. Patients deserve access to quality health care and we are working to create a climate where physicians and clinicians are available and patients are protected wherever you are in New Mexico,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “This is what it looks like when we come together across the aisle and work collaboratively with patients, medical providers and attorneys to craft a solution that will make solid improvements in access and quality to our health care system.”
Senate Bill 523 amends the Medical Malpractice Act to cap claims for independent healthcare facilities, such as urgent care, ambulatory surgical centers, and free-standing emergency rooms that are not hospital controlled. Additionally, the damages recoverable from an injury or death to patient as a result of malpractice shall not exceed $1 million, except for punitive damages. Beginning in calendar year 2024, it adjusts annually by the prior three-year average consumer price index.
“Rather than kick the can down the road with a two year study, doctors and trial lawyers have agreed on a long-term solution that allows independent clinics to obtain malpractice insurance. This compromise provides stability for current practices,” said Sen. Wirth. “It also creates more certainty for new outpatient facilities looking to open in New Mexico. And, patients who have been harmed are protected because outpatient clinics remain in the state’s patient compensation fund. I want to thank Senator Baca and the Governor for the work we did together to help the parties reach this compromise.”
“I want to thank the doctors and patients who voiced their concerns regarding this looming healthcare crisis,” said Sen. Baca. “We all recognize the need for quality, accessible healthcare for New Mexicans and sufficient protections for our patients. This agreement is a testament to the progress we can make when we put the health and well-being of our citizens above politics.”