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Governor Gregoire Signs Breakthrough Medical Liability Legislation

For Immediate Release: March 6, 2006

OLYMPIA – Governor Chris Gregoire today signed into law a measure that will address health care in Washington by improving patient safety and reforming medical malpractice insurance and the civil justice system for medical liability.

“Today marks a big step forward for Washington state,” said Governor Gregoire. “This bill is the result of several parties putting their differences aside to find a solution that will help Washingtonians. I am grateful to all of the legislators who were devoted to this issue and who showed patience during this entire process.”

Governor Gregoire early this year convened a working group with the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association, the Washington State Hospital Association, the Washington State Medical Association, the Washington State Bar Association and Physician’s Insurance.

All parties agreed to participate in the Governor’s negotiations after a contentious initiative campaign in 2005.

Agreement was reached on several key provisions, including statements of apology by health care providers, evidence of offsetting outside sources of compensation such as insurance, and a new voluntary binding arbitration procedure for certain medical liability actions.

House Bill 2292 will take effect 90 days after adjournment of the legislative session.