Kentucky High Court Considers Medical Review Panels

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – The Kentucky Supreme Court is considering whether the state legislature can set rules for how to file medical malpractice lawsuits.

The Republican-controlled legislature passed a law last year that requires all medical malpractice lawsuits first be screened by a panel of doctors. The panel’s decision would then be admissible in court. The goal is to deter frivolous lawsuits that some lawmakers say drive up costs for doctors and discourage them from practicing in Kentucky.

But critics say the law violates the constitutional rights of patients by delaying their access to the courts. The panel has nine months to reach a decision before a lawsuit can be filed.

Lawyers argued the case on Wednesday before the Kentucky Supreme Court. The court has no deadline to issue a decision.