At first glance, many of us would concede that a bill that aims to encourage the disclosure of adverse medical outcomes is worthy. After all, patients deserve to learn the reasons why an adverse medical outcome occurred, and the therapeutic relationship between a health care provider and patient can sometimes be preserved or even enhanced with frank discussions of what went wrong. It is fair to say that no one objects to legislation that is aimed at increasing the opportunity of frank discussions.
House Bill No. 306 went a step farther than simply encouraging frank discussions, however. The proposed legislation contained a very dangerous provision that would have effectively eviscerated patient's rights. This provision stated as follows:
"The following shall be privileged and inadmissible in a civil action, administrative action, or arbitration arising from an adverse medical outcome: (i) an offer to participate in a disclosure program or actual participation therein; (ii) a disclosure made as part of a disclosure program; and (iii) an offer of resolution, including compensation, made during a disclosure program."
The House Civil Law Subcommittee understood the dangers of House Bill No. 306. As a result, no member of the Subcommittee even made a motion to vote on the Bill. The end result was a win for patient rights.