MICRA Facts and Basics

MICRA: The Basics
By Lisa Maas, Executive Director of Californians Allied for Patient Protection

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California doctors strongly support our state’s successful Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA)—and rightly so. Today, MICRA ensures injured patients are protected and fairly compensated, while also limiting frivolous lawsuits. MICRA’s limits on meritless lawsuits keeps physician medical liability rates lower, allowing more doctors and other health care providers to stay in practice and more hospitals and clinics to stay open.

What does MICRA provide?  Not only does MICRA protect health care providers, but it also protects the patients they serve. MICRA preserves patients’ access to fair compensation when they have justifiable claims, including:

In addition, MICRA limits the amount personal injury attorneys can take as payment for representing an injured patient. This ensures more money goes to patients, not their lawyers.

MICRA has saved health care consumers billions of dollars by protecting against meritless lawsuits. Not surprisingly, MICRA is the target of personal injury lawyers who want to change the law to make it easier and more lucrative to file lawsuits. 

  • Personal injury lawyers want to quadruple the non-economic damages award from $250,000 to $1.1 million. Higher awards means more in legal fees.
  • Even doubling the amount of non-economic damages allowed under MICRA from $250,000 to $500,000 will raise health care costs in California by a whopping $9.5 billion annually, according to a report by the State’s former non-partisan Legislative Analyst William Hamm.   Increasing the amount by four times as much, as trial lawyers want to do, will increase costs even more.
  • The result will be higher medical liability rates for health care providers and higher health insurance premiums for employers and consumers.

This is why the California Urological Association, along with the California Medical Association, continues to work with Californians Allied for Patient Protection (CAPP), the coalition dedicated to ensuring that MICRA remains intact and viable in California.  The CAPP coalition includes more than 800 organizations representing specialty societies, statewide associations, hospitals, community clinics, physicians, nurses, EMTs, firefighters, police officers, dentists, health facilities, and women’s health advocates, among others For more information about CAPP and MICRA, visit www.micra.org and sign up to receive e-mail updates about efforts to protect MICRA and follow CAPP on Twitter: @MICRAWorks.