Doctors, lawyers and patients all agree: a new bill labeled the “Patient Injury Act” would be bad medicine for Georgia. So we took a look at SB 141 and found some troubling concerns about the bill’s authors.
First, why is newly elected Georgia Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, siding with big multi-state corporations instead of with Georgia patients and their doctors?
Could it be because the idea behind SB141, “The Patient Injury Act”, has been a pet project of his campaign contributor Richard Jackson, President and CEO of Jackson Health Care? Richard Jackson is also Gov. Deal’s appointee to the Georgia Department of Community Health.
Regardless of the reason why, the truth is that Sen. Beach is leading an effort in the Georgia Senate to lock the courtroom door for every Georgia patient who is injured as a result of medical malpractice.
SB141, more accurately dubbed “The Patient Injury Act,” would make it impossible for patients who are injured to seek justice in a court of law, from a jury of their peers.
Instead, cases would be decided by a costly, bureaucratic, taxpayer-funded board controlled by healthcare providers who would sit in judgment of their colleagues. Former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers has called the bill unconstitutional, but if Sen. Brandon Beach and his friends get their way, Georgia patients injured as a result of medical malpractice will be injured once again by being stripped of their constitutional rights.
The Medical Association of Georgia, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association and the nonpartisan consumer advocacy group Georgia Watch have all spoken out against this legislation, and the Florida legislature recently rejected a similar measure.
So, if all of these groups agree that this legislation, if passed, would impose a costly, unnecessary and ineffective experiment on Georgians, then who is pushing this controversial new law?
Look no further than Jackson Health Care and Patients for Fair Compensation, a group that has little to do with patients and everything to do with protecting large healthcare corporations.
Because of of his position on the Board of Governors of the Georgia Department of Community Health, Richard Jackson has not spoken publicly about SB141.
The Department of Community Health runs Georgia Medicaid, PeachCare and the State Health Benefit Plan, which together insure more than a quarter of all Georgians. But this conflict of interest hasn’t stopped Jackson from chairing the Board of Directors of Patients for Fair Compensation, a group advocating for passage of this controversial legislation.
Don’t be fooled.
Patients for Fair Compensation is not a patient advocacy group. With Jackson at the helm, the Board of Directors is filled with healthcare industry executives, many of whom are associated with Jackson Health Care.
While Jackson, Beach and their colleagues tout SB141 as a “no-blame” solution to medical malpractice, in reality, this is a no-responsibility, no-access to justice experiment that Georgians just can’t afford.
Click on the name of the sponsors of SB141, Sen. Brandon Beach, Sen. Steve Gooch, Sen. John Albers and Sen. Butch Miller, to send them an email. Tell them to stand up for patients and doctors, not big health care corporation. And tell Gov. Deal that his appointee to the Georgia Board of Community Health shouldn’t be in the business of undercutting patient rights.