Fresno, CA – Today, local Central Valley healthcare organizations announced their opposition to the so-called “Fairness for Injured Patients Act,” a medical malpractice lawsuit measure on next year’s statewide ballot that could reverse regional health access gains by sharply increasing costs and reducing available care in underserved communities. The groups join more than 300 organizations in opposition, including community clinics, doctors, nurses, frontline workers and providers throughout California.
As written, the measure would effectively eliminate California’s medical lawsuit limits by creating a new and broadly defined category of malpractice lawsuits, resulting in new financial windfalls for trial attorneys, while costing the state and local communities hundreds of millions of dollars in increased health costs and increasing financial stress and provider shortages in communities, including many throughout the Central Valley. The initiative is funded primarily by a single, wealthy out-of-state trial lawyer who personally stands to be further enriched by its passage.
“FIPA would increase healthcare costs for patients and reduce access to care in our area,” said Dr. Alan G. Kelton, MD, past president of the Fresno Madera Medical Society, representing 1400 physicians across the two-county region. “We need more physicians for our health systems, and we cannot afford to lose providers through clinic closures and doctors moving out of state. That’s why I urge a NO vote on this dangerous measure.”
“Community clinics are the backbone of this region, helping to ensure our neediest patients have access to care,” said Paulo Soares, Chief Executive Officer of Camarena Health, a Madera County-based network of primary care providers and health centers, serving mostly lower-income and underserved patients, including agricultural workers. “We are already operating on razor thin margins and a measure like FIPA, which would cost our healthcare delivery system millions, forcing us to reduce services and possibly eliminate some care altogether. That’s why we are voting NO on this measure next year.”
In 2014, voters overwhelmingly voted No on Proposition 46, which would have made substantial changes in the state’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). This measure goes well beyond what Prop. 46 would have done and the cost to California taxpayers would be far greater, as noted by the independent Legislative Analyst Office (LAO).
“This measure would likely have a wide variety of fiscal effects on state and local governments,” the LAO said, adding that, “Annual government costs likely ranging from the low tens of millions of dollars to the high hundreds of millions of dollars.”
For more about Californians to Protect Patients and Contain Health Care Costs, visit protectmicra.org.