According to Oregon Live, a bill introduced from Oregon offering mediation for medical errors passed the Oregon House in March 2013. Senate Bill 483 reached Gov. John Kitzhaber, and is the outcome of a work group Kitzhaber opened to address issues about medical malpractice lawsuits.
The bill passed the Senate in a 26-3 vote on March 5, 2013. The margin in the house was greater, passing 55-1. Rep. Gene Whisnant, R-Sunriver, was the only person to vote “No.”
Kitzhaber signed the bill into law in late March 2013. Patients, providers, or health care facilities can get into confidential negotiations in order to prevent a malpractice lawsuit.
Supporters of the bill think the bill is a positive step toward reducing malpractice claims, but those against the bill say the bill does not do enough to attack medical malpractice claims. The bill gained support from physicians and trial lawyers, who do not usually agree on medical malpractice.
According to Oregon Live, Kitzhaber praised the bill's passage: "I committed last year to bring a proposal to the Legislature to ensure that our medical liability system fits within our shared vision of health system transformation," Kitzhaber said.
"This important legislation will help resolve many serious medical events before they go to court by allowing health care providers and patients to have early discussions in a confidential setting," Kitzhaber said in a statement, according to Oregon Live.
The voluntary mediation program will assist to decrease malpractice suits. Under the bill, the Oregon Patient Safety Commission, a semi-independent state agency created in 2011 will create administrative procedures for notification and mediation. A Resolution of Adverse Health Care Incidents Task Force will evaluate the mediation program.
The bill bans insurers, regulators, licensing boards and providers from requesting the commission, providers or patients for adverse incidents being reported or mediated, and does not allow the use of such information as a way for disciplinary or licensing actions. The bill provides quality review of patient care in some situations.
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