On heels of reform, Chamber pushes for more

Ann Knef Aug. 25, 2005, 11:00pm

Echoes of praise rung from major backers of medical liability reform after Governor Rod Blagojevich signed reform legislation into law Thursday.

Calling it an important "first step," the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) also announced it was launching a statewide advertising campaign to highlight the need for additional reforms to restore fairness and balance to the legal system.

"Medical liability reform is a much-needed step in the right direction," said ILR President, Lisa A. Rickard.

"In order to protect jobs and the Illinois economy, the governor and the state Legislature need to finish the job and pass more lawsuit reform."

Rickard also pointed to a recent study which showed the state's legal climate is viewed poorly among the business community.

Illinois ranked 46 out of 50 states in the most recent ILR/Harris State Liability System Rankings, having fallen 12 spots in three years.

According to the survey, respondents ranked three Illinois counties—Cook, Madison, and St. Clair—among the 15 worst local jurisdictions in the country for legal fairness.

"Lawsuit abuse creates a hostile business climate that puts Illinois' jobs at risk," added Rickard, who noted that Illinois has lost almost 200,000 manufacturing jobs in the last five years. "That is why the business community will not rest until comprehensive reform is brought to the state's legal system."

The Illinois Hospital Association said access to health care for Illinoisans will be preserved and enhanced by the enactment of medical malpractice reform.

"The Illinois Hospital Association and its 200 member hospitals are grateful to the Governor for his leadership in addressing the concerns of the health care community with this monumental legislation," said IHA President Kenneth Robbins.

"This comprehensive new law will restore predictability to Illinois' broken liablity system that has been driving up costs for hospitals and physicians to unsustainable levels and that has jeopardized the state's health care system," added Howard Peters, IHA Senior Vice President for Governmental Relations.

The Illinois State Medical Society called the reform legislation a "major victory" for Illinois citizens.

"We look forward to the positive effects this legislation will have on access to health care services," said ISMS President Craig A. Backs, M.D.

"Every patient and physician in Illinois should be happy to know that positive change is on the way."

The Madison County Record is owned by the Institute for Legal Reform, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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Illinois Hospital Association
1151 Warrenville Road
Naperville, Illinois 60566

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