WASHINGTON, March 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With comprehensive medical liability reform legislation waiting to take center stage sometime this year, the Health Coalition on Liability and Access met in Washington this week to discuss recent developments at the state level and hear from liability reform experts and Members of Congress on the path forward for federal reform in 2013. Speakers at this year's Annual Meeting included Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), the Honorable Judy Harris Kluger of the New York State Unified Court System, David Pulliam of Congressman Phil Gringrey's (R-GA) office, Kristin Schleiter of the American Medical Association, and Matt Fullenbaum of the American Tort Reform Association. Senator Blunt, a key supporter of federal medical liability reform, opened the meeting by discussing last year's reform efforts and the windows of opportunity for moving legislation forward in the 113 th Congress. He also talked about state reform efforts that have been effective in reducing health care costs, while preserving access to patient care. Additional topics on the agenda at this year's meeting included plaintiff lawyers' legislative strategies, a judge-directed negotiation program currently operating in New York, and an update on legislative achievements at the state level. "While we continue to see lower health care costs and increased access to care in states that have passed medical liability reforms, the patchwork of laws that differ from state to state must be reconciled. For that reason, we remain dedicated to passing comprehensive medical liability reform at the federal level," Chairman Mike Stinson said in closing the meeting. "The coalition will continue our efforts to work with our allies in Congress to fix this system by reducing costs, limiting the practice of defensive medicine and protecting patients – not personal injury lawyers."