HMO MALPRACTICE: Three Gubernatorial Candidates Say They Would Sign Measure
The state's "three leading" Democratic gubernatorial candidates answered questions about their positions on various issues in yesterday's Wall Street Journal/California Edition, and all said that HMOs should be held liable for medical decision-making. The candidates were asked if they would sign a bill (AB 2436) proposed by state Assemblywoman Liz Figueroa (D-Fremont) that "would allow patients to sue and collect damages from [HMOs] that have 'exercised influence or control which results in the failure to exercise ordinary care.'" Al Checchi said he would sign the measure because "[a]ll entities that contribute to medical decisions should be made legally accountable for those decisions." Lt. Gov. Gray Davis said he would sign the measure because "[w]hen the system fails, we must give patients the opportunity to hold HMO decision-makers personally liable for their mistakes. Doctors can already be sued for malpractice -- the time has come to make HMOs equally accountable." U.S. Rep. Jane Harman (D) said that since HMOs "are making life-and-death decisions," making them "accountable for their actions will refocus the role of HMOs to provide care based on the medical interests of patients" (Benson, 5/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.