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Sorry Works! Blog

Making Disclosure A Reality For Healthcare Organizations 

Oregon's State-Wide Push for Disclosure and Apology

Earlier this year we reported on the impressive state-wide effort in Massachusetts to advance apology & disclosure.  Well, folks in Oregon are attempting their own comprehensive push.  The Governor, legislature, and a special task force have developed a plan to encourage more discussion post-event, including (when necessary) apology and fair compensation.  Interestingly, the drafters of the plan have specifically stated that all cases handled under the program will not be deemed a written demand for money, so no reporting to the National Practitioner Data Bank.   Wonder if this will include the state licensure boards?  I am counting this as a victory for our effort to protect clinicians who disclose.

Another interesting component of the plan is that it includes language specifically stating that insurance companies can NOT cancel a doctor's policy for being involved in disclosure.  Bravo!   The plan's language does allow for insurers to develop policies to guide their insureds during disclosure, which is something we have always encouraged at Sorry Works!  However, insurers can NOT prohibit post-event discussions and disclosure.  Very interesting.   The plan also offer complete apology immunity, meaning disclosure discussions - including admission of fault - cannot be used in litigation or court.
Of course, this effort is being met with some resistance, including the old arguments of "disclosure will drive up claims" and "we need tort reform instead" and "this will be a windfall for PI lawyers."  Blah, blah, blah.  I encourage our friends in Oregon to push forward --- this plan seems like it has great promise.  The language for the Oregon plan is linked in this e-mail...I encourage folks to read and review it.
However, I warn do NOT need a state-wide plan like Oregon or Massachusetts to do disclosure.  Sorry Works! is almost always implemented successfully within individual hospitals, insurance companies, or RRGs -- with no help from the politicians.   You don't need apology immunity or language stating insurance companies can't cancel your coverage.  Many insurers already embrace disclosure and will work with you, your patient, and family.  The Oregon and Massachusetts plans will no doubt help advance disclosure, but such plans are not necessary.  You don't need to wait for your state to do the same.  You simply need inspired leaders within your hospital or insurer.
To get disclosure going in your hospital, long-term care provider, or insurer in 2013, schedule a live Sorry Works! presentation by calling 618-559-8168 or e-mailing  Live Sorry Works! presentation are a great way to introduce disclosure to your leadership and staff.  Call or e-mail today!