Three bills with TCJL support will be heard in committee on Monday.
CSSB 679 by Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock) will be heard Monday morning in Senate State Affairs. The bill makes technical changes to Sections 18.001(b) and (d), TCPRC, which governs the necessary records and affidavits relating to medical expenses in a civil action. The bill seeks to streamline the process and reduce the burden of filing often lengthy medical expense records with the clerk of the court. CSSB 679 provides that unless the Texas Rules of Evidence specify otherwise, the records attached to an affidavit proving up medical expenses need not be filed with the clerk of the court before the trial commences, though they are served on the opposing party. The bill also adds language to §18.002 to provide that a supporting affidavit from the custodian of medical expense records is sufficient if it substantially complies with the form set out in the statute. The affidavit essentially states the total amount paid for the serve and the amount currently unpaid but which the medical provider has a right to be paid after any adjustments or credits. Finally, the bill clarifies that if a medical bill or other itemized statement attached to the affidavit reflects a charge that is not recoverable, the reference to that charge is not admissible at trial.
The other bills, HB 658 and HB 2843 by Rep. Kenneth Sheets (R-Dallas), will be heard Monday upon adjournment of the House in Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence. HB 658 provides that interest does not accrue on the unpaid balance of a damages award if the U.S. Government has a right of subrogation against the award prior to the defendant’s receipt of notice of the subrogation claim from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Interest is suspended for an additional 30 days after the defendant receives notice, if the defendant pays the balance of the award within that time. HB 2843 extends the time in which a claimant in a health care action must serve an expert report on the defendant to 120 days after the defendant has served an answer (current law requires service of the report within 120 days of filing the claim). The bill also extends the time for a defendant to serve an objection to the expert report to the later of 21 days after the date of the defendant’s answer or 21 days after the date the report was served.