Legislation Agreement on the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act
California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) was established to allow for the recovery of all economic damages or out-of-pocket costs for medical expenses. In past years, there has been a push to amend this act. Most recently trial lawyers collected signatures for an anti-MICRA ballot measure which would allow for significant increases in the dollar amounts sought by plaintiffs in suits against medical providers and healthcare professionals. This, in turn, would increase medical liability rates for the same providers. CSAC has opposed previous legislation, due to the potential fiscal impact to county hospitals and clinics because it would likely increase malpractice premiums and potentially cause additional strain on the health care workforce.
Stakeholders led by the direction of Californians Allied for Patient Protection (CAPP) coalition have reached an agreement on proposed legislation to modify MICRA. The agreement:
- Extends the long-term predictability and affordability of state liability protections for those providing medical care in California, and
- Provides a fair and reasonable increase to limits on non-economic damages (there is no cap on economic damages such as medical costs or lost salaries) for medical malpractice starting January 1, 2023 – with gradual increases thereafter.
May 12, 2022
The agreement strikes a balance that allows for continued medical liability protections while incrementally increasing limits on non-economic damages. The proposed agreement reflects an increase over 10 years from a $250,000 limit on non-economic damages to $750,000 for non-death cases and $1,000,000 for wrongful death cases. The initial limit increase will occur on January 1, 2023, to $350,000 for non-death cases and $500,000 for wrongful death cases.
The deadline to withdraw the current MICRA ballot measure, which has gathered enough signatures, is June 30. Stakeholders are currently working to finalize legislation prior to the withdrawal deadline.
Please see the CAPP press release here.