We have a major problem in Arizona with overcrowded emergency rooms and a shortage of doctors. As the Tribune reports today, we have this problem in part because so many doctors have been sued and malpractice premiums are so high that many specialists refuse to work in emergency rooms. Janet Napolitano’s response has been to appoint another study commission. Dr. Todd Taylor, who was named to an ER task force in 2003, says:
“This would be the fifth task force that’s been established to deal with these issues. Why don’t we just deal with the problem rather than continue to study and study and study?”
The legislature has sent House Bill 2315, sponsored by Sen. Carolyn Allen, to Napolitano to protect emergency room doctors from frivolous lawsuits. (Napolitano created the study committee the day after the bill hit her desk.) Today is decision day. Will she sign a measure designed to address the real problem, or will she do the bidding of her trial lawyer friends?