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House Committee Advances Legislation to Address Venue Shopping

June 21, 2022

The state House Judiciary Committee advanced legislation this morning to address venue shopping in medical malpractice liability cases.

House Bill 2660, introduced by Rep. Rob Kauffman (R–Franklin County), would begin the process of amending the state constitution to allow the General Assembly to establish the venue of civil lawsuits and prevent venue shopping.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The issue:  Venue shopping in medical liability cases occurs when a plaintiff files a lawsuit in a location other than where the medical care was provided. The practice ended 20 years ago in Pennsylvania when the legislature, administration, and courts worked together to require lawsuits to be filed in the county where the medical care is received. This change has been critical in protecting clinicians and hospitals from unsustainable liability costs.
  • The stakes:  The return of venue shopping would threaten Pennsylvanians’ access to care. When venue shopping was allowed, it resulted in physicians leaving the state, medical malpractice insurance rates increasing sharply, and hospitals discontinuing services, particularly obstetrics and specialty care. A new actuarial report commissioned by the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee highlights a number of concerns.
  • The legislative process:  Lawmakers must pass identical resolutions in back-to-back legislative sessions to amend the state constitution. The amendment is then put to a public vote as a statewide ballot question.
  • Next steps: The legislation now moves to the full House for consideration.
  • Quotable:  “Pennsylvania can’t afford policies that further strain its already tenuous health care workforce,” HAP said in a letter to state House leaders.

HAP will continue to provide updates to members and the general public about this legislation. For more information, contact Heather Tyler, HAP’s vice president, state legislative advocacy.