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Information from edited news release . . .
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Legislation filed today by state Rep. Eric Burlison would eliminate an enormous barrier that has prevented many health care professionals from volunteering their services in times of need. Burlison’s legislation, HB 190, would create the Volunteer Health Services Act to protect those who volunteer their services from frivolous lawsuits.
Burlison said the threat of litigation and the need for expensive medical malpractice insurance have prevented many capable health care professionals from providing their services during emergencies. His legislation is designed to ensure Missourians continue to receive quality care, and that health care practitioners are not subjected to overly-burdensome regulations or frivolous litigation.
“Tennessee created the model for this program in the 1990s and has used it to great effect to provide free medical care to their neediest citizens,” said Burlison. “We want to encourage our doctors and nurses to volunteer their time and their expertise to provide quality care to those who need it. The Volunteer Health Services Act will remove some of the barriers currently in place to ensure that can happen.”
Burlison’s bill would exempt a volunteer health care provider from civil liability unless they exhibit gross negligence or willful misconduct in providing their services. The bill also would allow health care professionals to provide services within their scope of practice without the need for additional licensing or certification.
Burlison’s bill is similar to legislation that received approval in the Missouri House during the 2012 session. A modified version of the bill received approval in the Senate, but the two chambers could not come to a final agreement before the session ended. Burlison hopes the 2013 session will see the Volunteer Health Services Act finally become law.
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