Contact: Chuck Grimes

June 19, 2009

Phone: (615) 741-1967

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) announced that Senate Bill 1907 has passed the General Assembly and is headed to the Governor for his signature. The bill will enhance currently-existing civil protections for volunteer medical professionals at community health clinics. Currently, licensed medical professionals who volunteer at clinics that provide services at no charge are immune from liability for civil damages for any act or omission that results from their services there. Through the Norris bill, this protection will also extend to such volunteer medical personnel at clinics that offer services on a sliding fee scale for low-income individuals. The immunity does not apply in cases of gross negligence or willful misconduct on the part of the healthcare provider.

Of the bill’s passage, Norris remarked, “I am proud to see this legislation succeed at a time when medical professionals are desperately needed to serve our unemployed and uninsured citizens. Protection from civil liability will encourage more professionals in the world of medicine to offer their services throughout the state.” Norris added, “In the current economy, statistics show that for every one-percent increase in the national unemployment rate that another 1.1 million Americans are found uninsured. This is tragic and demands new tactics for aiding those who need medical care.”

In addition to this civil protection measure on behalf of volunteer medical professionals, Norris sponsored the state’s most sweeping general medical liability reform legislation in 2008 which has already significantly reduced the number of frivolous medical malpractice suits in Tennessee. “By supporting doctors who often fear spending more time in the courtroom than the examination room, we can significantly reform access to proper healthcare,” Norris said.

A resident of Collierville, Senator Norris practices law with the firm of Adams and Reese LLC in Memphis. First elected to the Senate in 2000, Senator Norris represents the West Tennessee Counties of Dyer, Lauderdale, Tipton, and Shelby.


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