Georgia tort reform — new rules on qualifications of experts in medical malpractice cases

Senate Bill 3, effective 2/16/05, sets forth stringent new requirements as to who can testify as an expert witness in a medical malpractice case. There are several key provisions.
First, OCGA 24-9-67.1(c) requires that the expert witness have “actual professional knowledge and experience in the area of practice or specialty in which the opinion is to be given” as the result of “active practice of such area of specialty of his or her profession for at least three of the last five years, with sufficient frequency to establish an appropriate level of knowledge” or “teaching of his or her profession for at least three of the last five years as an employed member of the faculty of an educational institution accredited in the teaching of such profession, with sufficient frequency to establish an appropriate level of knowledge, as determined by the judge, in teaching others how to perform the procedure, diagnose the condition, or render the treatment which is alleged to have been performed or rendered negligently by the defendant whose conduct is at issue.” In addition, the expert must have been “licensed by an appropriate regulatory agency to practice his or her profession in the state in which such expert was practicing or teaching in the profession at such time.”
On the surface, this appears to make a lot of sense. The devil is in the details.
It appears that the experience requirement is more readily satisfied for doctors who teach in medical schools than for those who are in active practice, as they have to have taught 3 of the past 5 years, while practitioners have to have performed the same procedure, etc., with sufficient frequency in 3 of the past 5 years. However, since many medical school faculties are comprised of doctors who are actually employed by an affiliated medical practice group, there may be a hidden hook that would prevent using medical school faculty members as expert witnesses.
Whether or not it was intended, it appears that the statutory qualifications apply not only to standard of care testimony in a medical malpractice case, but also to causation and prognosis testimony by subsequent treating physicians.
Under the literal language of the statute, no defendant physician who lacks the requisite experience could give opinion testimony in his or her own defense.
The full text of this provision follows:

Ken Shigley represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a “Super Lawyer” in Atlanta Magazine and one of the “Legal Elite” in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is President-Elect of the State Bar of Georgia (2011-12), a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks). He and Sally have been married since 1983, and are the proud parnts of two young adults, Anne Shigley and Ken Shigley, Jr.