Time for Arkansas to Try Disclosure & Apology
Over the last 13 years I have deliberately steered Sorry Works! and the disclosure movement away from politics. Med-mal politics is a never-ending quagmire, and the beauty of disclosure is we don't need permission from a politician, and no judge can ever take it away.
This week, however, I will temporarily dip my toe in med-mal politics, only to rescue our friends from the Natural State. In 2003, the Arkansas legislature passed tort reform only to have most of the law declared unconstitutional by their Supreme Court. Then, over the past year, the tort reform crowd cooked up an idea for a constitutional amendment that would cap non-economic damages and attorney fees as well as declare that the Arkansas legislature has the authority to pass future tort reform measures. The constitutional amendment -- known as Issue 1 -- was set to be decided by voters in the upcoming November mid-term elections. However, earlier this week, the Arkansas Supreme Court threw out the ballot question, or, I should say, put Issue 1 out of its misery.
Recent polling showed Issue 1 was losing. Not only were the usual suspects (trial lawyers et. al) lined up in opposition, but so was a majority of Evangelical voters -- which is a big deal in deep red Southern States. Social conservatives, who usually align themselves with Republican politics, broke with the business community on Issue 1 by declaring that the amendment placed a monetary value on human life -- especially the most vulnerable citizens in nursing homes. Born- Again Christians believed Issue 1 was immoral. Indeed, the Fat Lady was warming up even before the Arkansas Supreme Court did their thing.
So, I am dipping my toe into med-mal politics to encourage our friends in Arkansas to get out of med-mal politics and, instead, focus their time and considerable resources on implementing disclosure and apology programs. Recent news articles stated the pro Issue 1 crowd has spent over $1M. Imagine if that money had been re-directed to disclosure training for front-line staff in acute and long-term care organizations? There would have been a major and permanent dent in liability exposure for Arkansas healthcare organizations.
Please share this post with your friends and colleagues in Arkansas (as well as the 49 other states), and know that Sorry Works! is always here to assist with disclosure training and presentations. Just call 618-559-8168 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doug Wojcieszak, Founder,
PO Box 531
Glen Carbon, IL 62034