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Governor Kitzhaber Testimony on SB 483

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First, many, many thanks to everyone involved in this process over the past 10 months. A special thanks to Senator Prozanski and Senator Kruse for their involvement and oversight as they have been instrumental in its creation and refinement.

SB 483-1 is a medical liability proposal that, I believe, is innovative and focuses on improving patient safety and the culture of medicine.

For those of you who remember, the 2012 Legislative Session ended with the passage of HB 1580 (the legislation that allowed for the implementation of CCOs). This legislation created the Patient Safety and Defensive Medicine Workgroup and charged it with creating a 2013 legislative proposal that would implement meaningful liability reform. At the time, I provided Legislative Leadership with a written commitment that I would work with key stakeholders to develop a legislative proposal for 2013.

Many people have been involved -- I'd like to acknowledge some of them for their help:
o Mark Bocci, Dr. Bud Pierce, Derek Johnson, Dr. Carla McKelvey, David Miller, Dr. John Moorehead, Richard Lane, Dr. Bob Dannenhoffer and Gwen Dayton --
 for their insight and collaboration, which was critical to helping form the foundation for the proposal.
o Dr. Bud Pierce, Derek Johnson, Larry Mullins, Vicki Nakashima, Senator Prozanski, Senator Kruse, Representative Garrett and Representative Conger:
 for their willingness to serve on the Patient Safety and Defensive Medicine Workgroup and refine the proposal and turn it into an actual legislative draft.
o Eric Lindauer:
 for his diplomacy in facilitating the dialogue between parties and helping find a resolution that is truly unique to Oregon.

I did not come into this with a preconceived idea around how this must work -- but wanted to see something that was aligned with what was outlined in SB 1580 and the principles we set forth for this project:
o Improve the practice environment to allow physicians to learn from medical errors and improve patient safety.
o More effectively compensate individuals who are injured as a result of medical errors; and
o Reduce the collateral costs associated with the medical liability system, including the costs associated with insurance administration, litigation and defensive medicine.

This legislation addresses those 3 key principles and is a new, innovative approach that includes three distinct phases: early discussion and resolution; mediation; and finally access to the legal system.

The bottom line is that this legislation will now make it possible for health care providers and patients to have early discussions in a confidential setting to attempt to resolve serious medical events before they go to court.

We again have shown that Oregon can create a new path forward that meets the needs of our citizens in a bipartisan approach. Thank you. ​


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