Massachusetts Health Cost Control Law Includes Disclosure, Apology, and Offer Provisions
August 15, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Health System
Massachusetts has passed a law containing a “disclosure, apology, and offer” approach to help address the state’s medical malpractice claims, states an August 7, 2012, Insurance Journal article. Signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick on August 6, 2012, the healthcare cost-control bill outlines a model in which healthcare professionals and institutions and their insurers will disclose to patients and families when unanticipated adverse outcomes occur; investigate and explain what happened; establish systems to improve patient safety and prevent the recurrence of such incidents; and, when appropriate, apologize and offer fair financial compensation without the patient having to resort to legal action. Provisions of the law allow for a six-month prelitigation resolution “cooling-off” period that affords the time to go through the process and affirm that statements of apology by providers are inadmissible in court.