SANTA FE — A proposal to overhaul New Mexico’s medical malpractice law won Senate approval on a 36-5 vote late Thursday and now heads back to the House.
The legislation, House Bill 75, was substantially revised while in the Senate — a compromise negotiated by health care providers and lawyers representing patients harmed by medical malpractice.
“We can be proud of this — that these two warring factions have come together on this kind of compromise,” Senate President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, said as she presented the bill Thursday.
The changes are intended to strengthen the finances of a patient compensation fund while also ensuring families harmed by medical malpractice can get justice in court.
Under the current system, there’s a $600,000 cap on nonmedical damages.
The proposed compromise would raise the damages cap for hospitals to $6 million, with the increase phased in through 2026. The cap for independent physicians and providers would climb to $750,000.
The proposal makes a host of other changes, too.
It will have to go back to the House for a vote on whether to accept the Senate changes.