In the wake of the 2019 Maryland birth injury medical malpractice verdict in the amount of $229.64 million, which was subsequently reduced by the trial judge to $205.38 million, and which was nonetheless the largest such verdict in the United States ever, the well-financed healthcare industry and insurance industry have unleashed their lobbying efforts during this year’s Maryland legislative session now in progress, to propose the creation of the so-called “Maryland Infant Lifetime Care Trust” (SB 879 in the Maryland Senate and HB 1563 in the Maryland House). Proposed legislation to create a Maryland birth injury fund (“BIF”) on several occasions in the past have been defeated as unnecessary and harmful to medical malpractice victims.
A victims’ rights advocacy group in Maryland strongly opposes such renewed efforts, stating, in part: “Like all BIFs, this year’s bill allows negligent health care providers to avoid responsibility for compensating babies who suffer from catastrophic neurological injuries caused by negligence. The BIF takes fair compensation away from infant victims of malpractice and replaces it with a lifetime of petitioning a bureaucratic panel of Fund administrators to pay for all future medical, rehabilitation, and other necessary expenses. After litigating their cases and proving malpractice, brain-injured children and their families would be forced to sacrifice their independence, their autonomy, and their medical privacy.”
“Only three state legislatures have ever enacted BIF legislation. This year’s version of BIF is modeled on a Fund in New York. Created in 2011, the New York Fund is on track to exceed $2.2 billion in unfunded liabilities; meanwhile, advocates for New York families complain about “unreasonable denials” of much-needed medical care. A similar BIF in Virginia was recently forced to pay millions to settle a whistleblower case alleging Medicaid fraud.”
“BIFs are not just bad public policy. BIFs cheat malpractice victims and their families of fair and just compensation. And BIFs are fiscally unsound, costing taxpayers millions of dollars a year. And BIFs remove incentives for hospitals to provide safer medical care.”
Following a recent article about the proposed bill , the Baltimore Sun Editorial Board expressed their support, claiming that it would solve a “health care emergency.” The president of the Maryland victims’ rights advocacy group stated in response: “”Despite the Sun ’s rosy portrayal of New York’s Medical Indemnity Fund, actuaries project it is a $2.2 billion unfunded liability, looming like a budget iceberg for New York taxpayers … There is no need for a [Maryland] birth injury fund that will shift the cost of their preventable errors to Maryland’s working families and employers. At the end of the day, it is patients and taxpayers who will end up paying $40 million so that hospitals can avoid responsibility for preventable injuries and corporate practices that jeopardize the life and health of their patients.”
If you or your baby suffered a birth injury (or worse) during labor and/or delivery in Maryland or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a birth injury lawyer in Maryland or in your state who may investigate your birth injury claim for you and represent you and your child in a birth injury medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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