Don't Raid Injured Patients' Fund

Monday, October 1, 2007

MADISON - The Wisconsin Academy of Trial Lawyers (the Academy) today called upon legislative leaders to rule out any transfer of money from the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund (the Fund) as a means of balancing the budget.  Recent reports suggest that such a raid is possible, perhaps even in excess of the proposed amount of $175 million.

"By law the Fund is an "irrevocable trust" designed to compensate injured patients and their families," said Academy President Rob Jaskulski.  "A raid on the Fund would be a serious violation of the law enacted specifically to prevent this very conduct.

"The Academy strongly opposes efforts to balance the budget on the backs of future injured patients and their families," said Jaskulski.  "While we understand these are tight fiscal times, a raid on the Fund would come at the detriment to all involved - doctors, their patients, and the public."

In addition to aiding injured patients and their families, the Fund works to keep doctors' medical liability insurance rates low.  According to the American Medical Association, Wisconsin is one of only eight states in the country that is not facing a medical liability crisis, which can be largely attributed to the existence of this fund.

"Now is the time all of us should stand up and oppose this unseemly legislative deal making that threatens the rights of the injured to fair compensation as well as the stability of Wisconsin's health care system and the public's access to care," said Jaskulski.

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