A recent Ob.Gyn. News article reported that the State of Iowa has joined Oregon and Massachusetts in passing a comprehensive disclosure law. The apology laws from these three states go beyond the simple immunity for empathy or apology that exists in 36 other states. Instead, they lay the foundation for the development of actual disclosure programs that help consumers and clinicians communicate and resolve differences post-event, including compensation for serious harm or death caused by malpractice.
In exchange for confidentiality from the courts as well as regulatory authorities (e.g., state medical board), the Iowa legislation spells out what a disclosure program should look like, including the requirement that healthcare organizations allow attorneys to be involved in the process.
Here’s the actual law. Impressively, both the medical establishment and trial lawyers in Iowa backed the law. Washington, Texas, Utah and California have expressed interest in similar legislation.
This is a great development, and I am hopeful other states will follow. However, your state doesn’t need to pass such a law for you to develop a disclosure program. You don’t need any form of confidentiality. Defense lawyers in states that pass confidentiality or immunity laws quickly discover that the disclosure process actually provides a lot of powerful evidence that should be shown to, not hidden from, a jury. Yes, legislative bodies can help and even hasten the implementation of disclosure; but the true beauty of disclosure is that no laws, rulings from the court, etc., are necessary.
You can do it on your own.
The process of building a disclosure program starts with raising awareness among your staff, leadership and other stakeholders (e.g., outside counsel, insurers, etc.). Learn more about building this awareness through the RSQ® Solutions Communication and Resolution Program. This program includes components designed to engage all staff in a culture of communication, such as leadership training, online education and webinar forum.
Text originally appeared on www.sorryworks.net.