2006 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Bondurant
AN ACT TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE FOR INDIGENT PATIENTS IN MISSISSIPPI; TO AMEND SECTION 11-46-1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO INCLUDE PHYSICIANS UNDER CONTRACT WITH THE DIVISION OF MEDICAID IN THE DEFINITION OF EMPLOYEE IN THE TORT CLAIMS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The Legislature finds that a significant portion of the residents of this state who are Medicaid recipients are unable to access needed health care because health care providers fear the increased risk of medical negligence liability. The Legislature recognizes the importance of assuring adequate health care services for all Mississippians, and it acknowledges that physicians are a vital component of providing such services. The Legislature finds that physicians who provide health care services to citizens who are Medicaid recipients are providing an essential public service and that is it in the interest to provide certain immunities of the state and its political subdivisions liability protections for these services.
SECTION 2. Section 11-46-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
11-46-1. As used in this chapter the following terms shall have the meanings herein ascribed unless the context otherwise requires:
(a) "Claim" means any demand to recover damages from a governmental entity as compensation for injuries.
(b) "Claimant" means any person seeking compensation under the provisions of this chapter, whether by administrative remedy or through the courts.
(c) "Board" means the Mississippi Tort Claims Board.
(d) "Department" means the Department of Finance and Administration.
(e) "Director" means the executive director of the department who is also the executive director of the board.
(f) "Employee" means any officer, employee or servant of the State of Mississippi or a political subdivision of the state, including elected or appointed officials and persons acting on behalf of the state or a political subdivision in any official capacity, temporarily or permanently, in the service of the state or a political subdivision whether with or without compensation. The term "employee" shall not mean a person or other legal entity while acting in the capacity of an independent contractor under contract to the state or a political subdivision; provided, however, that for purposes of the limits of liability provided for in Section 11-46-15, the term "employee" shall include physicians under contract to provide health services with the Division of Medicaid, the State Board of Health, the State Board of Mental Health or any county or municipal jail facility while rendering services under such contract. The term "employee" shall also include any physician, dentist or other health care practitioner employed by the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) and its departmental practice plans who is a faculty member and provides health care services only for patients at UMMC or its affiliated practice sites. The term "employee" shall also include any physician, dentist or other health care practitioner employed by any university under the control of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning who practices only on the campus of any university under the control of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning. The term "employee" shall also include any physician, dentist or other health care practitioner employed by the State Veterans Affairs Board and who provides health care services for patients for the State Veterans Affairs Board. The term "employee" shall also include Mississippi Department of Human Services licensed foster parents for the limited purposes of coverage under the Tort Claims Act as provided in Section 11-46-8.
(g) "Governmental entity" means and includes the state and political subdivisions as herein defined.
(h) "Injury" means death, injury to a person, damage to or loss of property or any other injury that a person may suffer that is actionable at law or in equity.
(i) "Political subdivision" means any body politic or body corporate other than the state responsible for governmental activities only in geographic areas smaller than that of the state, including, but not limited to, any county, municipality, school district, community hospital as defined in Section 41-13-10, Mississippi Code of 1972, airport authority or other instrumentality thereof, whether or not such body or instrumentality thereof has the authority to levy taxes or to sue or be sued in its own name.
(j) "State" means the State of Mississippi and any office, department, agency, division, bureau, commission, board, institution, hospital, college, university, airport authority or other instrumentality thereof, whether or not such body or instrumentality thereof has the authority to levy taxes or to sue or be sued in its own name.
(k) "Law" means all species of law including, but not limited to, any and all constitutions, statutes, case law, common law, customary law, court order, court rule, court decision, court opinion, court judgment or mandate, administrative rule or regulation, executive order, or principle or rule of equity.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2006.