Last week, several proposals providing additional medical malpractice protection for physicians, hospitals, and medical schools, as well as proposals requiring out-of-state physicians to obtain expert witness certificates in order to testify in medical malpractice actions, advanced in the House and Senate. S.B. 1676 by Sen. John Thrasher and H.B. 1393 by Rep. Frank Artiles extend sovereign immunity protection to Florida not-for-profit post-secondary institutions that operate an accredited medical school, as well as its employees or agents that have agreed in an affiliation agreement to provide patient services to a public teaching hospital. S.B. 1676 was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, while H.B. 1393 was passed out of the Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday. S.B. 1590 by Sen. Alan Hays and H.B. 479 by Rep. Mike Horner require out-of-state physicians to obtain an expert witness certificate in order to testify in a medical malpractice action. S.B. 1590 received a unanimous vote in the Banking and Insurance Committee on Tuesday, while H.B. 479 was reported out after a brief meeting of the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee on Monday. Proponents cited the high cost of medical malpractice insurance in Florida in support of the proposals, while opponents argued that peers of physicians alleged to have committed medical malpractice are often unwilling to testify, complicating the task of obtaining expert testimony regarding the prevailing standard of care. Opponents also highlighted the expansion of civil immunity to a hospital for the negligent acts of health care providers that have contracted with the hospital, while proponents countered that the hospital would still be liable for the activities within the boundaries of the hospital.