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Doctors, Trial Lawyers Back 'Provider Shield' Law in GA

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, May 8, 2013

Physicians and attorneys—uncommon allies—support a Georgia law that creates a barrier between doctors and "ancillary" payer guidelines in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which could potentially be used as evidence in medical malpractice lawsuits.

News that the Medical Association of Georgia and trial lawyers are united in their support of a new law that provides limited malpractice protections to physicians left some observers at the Capitol contemplating biblical prophecy.

"When their lobbyist and I testified together in support of this bill, one House member suggested that the committee should adjourn so that all of the members could get home before the locusts arrived," says William T. Clark, director of Political Affairs with the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association.

"He was joking, I think."

The "Provider Shield" bill (HB499) was signed into law on Monday by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. MAG and backers say it creates a barrier between Georgia doctors and "ancillary" payer guidelines in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which potentially could be used as evidence in medical malpractice lawsuits.

MAG President W. Scott Bohlke, MD, said the new law will protect "physicians in the state from some unreasonable and unnecessary standards and legal liabilities."

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