State Of Health Care - Iowa Tort Reform

Published in What's Happening? on Wednesday, March 1, 2023

After several years of efforts and deliberation on all sides, the Iowa legislature has passed health care tort reform.  The amended House File 1611 that was signed by Governor Reynolds on 02/16/23, puts a $2 million cap on noneconomic damages for hospitals and a $1 million cap on noneconomic damages for other health care providers.

Some detail:

  • Noneconomic damages against a health care provider shall not exceed $250,000, unless the jury determines that there is substantial or permanent loss or impairment…  in which case the amount recoverable shall not exceed $1 million; or $2 million if the civil action includes a hospital.
  • Passed the House 54-46; and the Senate 29-20.
  • The limitations shall increase by 2.1% starting on 01/01/28, and each January 1st thereafter.
  • The Iowa commissioner of insurance shall publish the amount of limitations on damages on the insurance division’s internet site, which will be updated annually.
  • A Medical Error Task Force shall be created to review and make recommendations to improve the medical error rates of Iowa’s licensed physicians.  This task force is set to dissolve upon submission of their work, due no later than 01/08/24.

Tort reform has been a priority for the Iowa Hospital Association, particularly in the 2023 legislative session, and was also part of Governor Kim Reynolds’ Health Care Bill. Iowa joins numerous other states with malpractice caps including nearby states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

Contact PDCM for more information on how this may impact your insurance risk strategies.

1House File 161; Successor to House File 102; As amended and passed by the House February 8, 2023