The Civil Procedural Rules Committee’s proposed rescission of the venue rule in medical malpractice cases has sparked spirited debate in legislative, medical, legal and underwriting spheres. The committee’s process is confidential. The publicly available information is limited. But, no known data supports the committee’s conclusion that the rule “no longer appears warranted,” see 48 Pa. Bulletin 7744 (Dec. 22, 2018). Health care providers, insurers, members of the defense bar and related organizations, therefore, strongly support the Supreme Court’s recent decision to defer consideration of any amendment to the rule pending the report of the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee on the potential effects of the proposed rule change.

Reform Measures Addressed the Medical Malpractice Crisis

The well-documented insurance crisis of the early 2000s was a health care crisis, see Bovbjerg et al., “Understanding Pennsylvania’s Medical Malpractice Crisis: Facts about Liability Insurance, the Legal System, and Health Care in Pennsylvania,” The Project on Medical Liability in Pennsylvania funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts (2003) (the Pew Study). It is well-recognized that skyrocketing premiums caused a significant decline in the growth rate of the numbers of physicians from 1997 to 2000. The 2003 Pew Study expressly concluded that the largest cost component affecting the affordability of coverage was the rising cost of legal claims.