Georgia Supreme Court Upholds ER Statute
March 15, 2010 – Today the Georgia Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the emergency treatment liability provisions in the state’s 2005 tort reform legislation. The law, known as the ER Statute, was passed as a part of the General Assembly’s 2005 tort reform package and increased malpractice protection for emergency providers. The statute was upheld through a 4-3 vote on Monday in Gliemmo v. Cousineau.
The law recognizes the difficulty of hospitals and emergency physicians in treating patients in the trauma setting with limited information, incomplete patient history, and other complicating factors. The statute provides increased liability protections so that a lawsuit can only be brought against a provider of emergency medicine when the claimant can prove by clear and convincing evidence that gross negligence caused the alleged harm.
Senate Bill 3, which included the ER Statute, was authored by Sen. Preston Smith who joined ApolloMD in 2008 to manage the ValorMD professional liability insurance division and provide counsel for risk management, claims, and quality improvement for its insured physicians. In 2010, the Georgia Society for Ambulatory Surgery Centers (GSASC) named Smith Legislator of the Year as a result of his patient advocacy and numerous healthcare reforms.
“In upholding the ER Statute, the Supreme Court stood up for Georgia’s emergency providers and affirmed the difficult work performed every day in our trauma centers and emergency departments,” says Sen. Smith. “This is very good news for patients, hospitals, and physicians and providers of emergency care throughout Georgia.”