Iowa Physicians, Trial Lawyers Back Disclosure
I recently came across an article that reported the State of Iowa has joined Oregon and Massachusetts in passing a comprehensive disclosure law. These three states set themselves apart from the 36 other states with apology laws by going beyond simple immunity for empathy or apology and instead laying the ground work 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 and also regulatory authorities (i.e, 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. Both the medical establishment and trial lawyers in Iowa backed the law -- wow! 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, you don't need for your state to pass such a law 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 a jury (not hidden). 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 (outside counsel, insurers, etc). A great way to raise awareness is by showing the Disclosure Documentary at your next Grand Rounds and other staff meetings. Copies of the movie are available for $29.99 per unit or as part of the Sorry Works! Tool Kit for $49.99. The Tool Kit includes everything you need to develop, launch, and sustain a disclosure program. Click on this link to order your copy today.