Senate File 148 - Introduced SENATE FILE 148 BY COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY (SUCCESSOR TO SSB 1063) A BILL FOR An Act relating to noneconomic damage awards against 1 health care providers, and including effective date and 2 applicability provisions. 3 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA: 4 TLSB 1583SV (2) 90 cm/ns
S.F. 148 Section 1. Section 147.136A, subsection 1, paragraph b, 1 Code 2023, is amended to read as follows: 2 b. (1) “Noneconomic damages” means damages arising from 3 pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, mental 4 anguish, emotional pain and suffering, loss of chance, loss of 5 consortium, or any other nonpecuniary damages. 6 (2) “Noneconomic damages” does not include the loss of 7 dependent care, including the loss of child care, due to the 8 death of or severe injury to a spouse or parent who is the 9 primary caregiver of a child under the age of eighteen or a 10 disabled adult. Such damages shall be considered economic 11 damages. 12 Sec. 2. Section 147.136A, subsection 2, Code 2023, is 13 amended to read as follows: 14 2. The Subject to subsection 4, the total amount recoverable 15 in any civil action for noneconomic damages for personal 16 injury or death, whether in tort, contract, or otherwise, 17 against a health care provider shall be limited to two 18 hundred fifty thousand dollars for any occurrence resulting 19 in injury or death of a patient regardless of the number of 20 plaintiffs, derivative claims, theories of liability, or 21 defendants in the civil action, shall not exceed two hundred 22 fifty thousand dollars unless the jury determines that there 23 is a substantial or permanent loss or impairment of a bodily 24 function, substantial disfigurement, or death, which warrants a 25 finding that imposition of such a limitation would deprive the 26 plaintiff of just compensation for the injuries sustained , in 27 which case the amount recoverable shall not exceed one million 28 dollars . 29 Sec. 3. Section 147.136A, Code 2023, is amended by adding 30 the following new subsection: 31 NEW SUBSECTION . 4. The limitations on damages contained 32 in subsection 2 shall increase by two and one-tenth percent 33 on January 1, 2028, and each January 1 thereafter. In any 34 civil action described in this section, such limitations on 35 -1- LSB 1583SV (2) 90 cm/ns 1/ 2
S.F. 148 damages shall be the amount effective at the time of the 1 occurrence. The commissioner of insurance shall publish the 2 amount of the limitations on damages contained in this section 3 on the insurance division’s internet site and shall update the 4 published amount annually. 5 Sec. 4. EFFECTIVE DATE. This Act, being deemed of immediate 6 importance, takes effect upon enactment. 7 Sec. 5. APPLICABILITY. This Act applies to causes of action 8 accrued on or after the effective date of this Act. 9 EXPLANATION 10 The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with 11 the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly. 12 This bill relates to noneconomic damage awards against 13 health care providers. The bill provides that damages for loss 14 of dependent care due to death of or severe injury to a spouse 15 or parent who is the primary caregiver are considered economic 16 damages. 17 The bill limits the amount of noneconomic damages that 18 a jury can award a plaintiff if there is a substantial or 19 permanent loss or impairment of a bodily function, substantial 20 disfigurement, or death to $1 million. The bill does not 21 amend the current exception to the cap for cases in which the 22 defendant’s actions constitute actual malice. 23 The bill provides for a 2.1 percent increase in the $250,000 24 cap under current law and $1 million cap under the bill 25 beginning on January 1, 2028, and each January 1 thereafter. 26 The commissioner of insurance is required to publish and update 27 the amount of the limitations on damages on the insurance 28 division’s internet site annually. 29 The bill takes effect upon enactment and applies to causes of 30 action accrued on or after that date. 31 -2- LSB 1583SV (2) 90 cm/ns 2/ 2