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A Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee passed up the chance to vote on a House drafted bill that would have excluded Kansas physicians and other health professionals from the state’s consumer protection laws. The legislation was in response to the recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling which found that medical professionals fell within the bounds of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act for deceptive acts and practices.

Physicians, nurses, veterinarians, anesthesiologists, pharmacists and radiologists voiced strong opposition to the recent high court ruling. Medical professionals fear that if action is not taken by the Legislature numerous plaintiffs will file consumer protection claims, in addition to medical malpractice lawsuits. The Kansas Trial Lawyers Association, Attorney General Paul Morrison and AARP of Kansas were in favor of the precedent set by Kansas Supreme Court and have said that the ruling will provide better medical care within the state.

There are few chances left, during this legislative session, for the bill to become law. An exemption that exists for health industry legislation could be used to amend this specific bill into other bills before adjournement in the middle of April 2007. Another option would be to refer the issue to an interim legislative committe for review and then revisit it during the 2008 session.

The basis for the Supreme Court ruling came from the case of a woman who was advised by her surgeon that two back procedures would be highly successful, when in fact the operations had not worked in a majority of cases. Her medical condition severly deteriorated after she underwent the procedures. The Supreme Court held that the woman could bring a claims against the surgeon under the Kansas Consumer Protection Act for decpetive acts and practices.

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