Previous apology bills in Kansas

As of 2013, Kansas does not have legislation to protect apologies from being used as evidence of liability in malpractice court cases. But a number of bills were introduced in past years. As best I can figure out, this is what happened…

In 2009 the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System proposed SB 32, modeled after a Colorado law. This bill was sent to the Kansas Judicial Council, and in 2010 they drafted SB 374, that was based on Hawaii law. Then a new draft based on South Carolina’s law became Substitute SB 374 (which I can’t find, but is the same as HB 2069). In 2011, SB 142 was proposed—which was identical to SB 374, except the word “provide“ became “prove”. And there was also HB 2123, which was only slightly different than HB 2069. Then someone wrote a substitute for HB 2069.

So what are the differences in these bills?

  • SB 374 and SB 142 are not specific to healthcare providers, but establish that expressions of apology and sympathy are not evidence of an admission of liability in Kansas civil courts. The other bills are specific to healthcare.
  • There are differences in how acknowledgements of fault are covered. SB 32 makes statements of fault inadmissible as evidence in court. SB 142 and SB 374 state that an acknowledgement of fault could be used as evidence. HB 2123, HB 2069, and Substitute for HB 2069 do not mention fault.
  • Substitute for HB 2069 protects only apologies that take place in a facilitated conference. Attorneys may attend these conferences only if all parties have approved this in writing.

After digging through notes from committee meetings on October 25, 2010, February 9, 2011, and March 7, 2011 and notes on bills substitute SB 374, SB 142, and substitute HB 2069, I believe these were the positions of these organizations:

 

Healthcare organizations

Kansas Medical Society
supported SB 374
supported Sub. for SB 374
supported HB 2069

Kansas Association of Osteopathic Medicine
supported HB 2069
supported SB 142

Kansas Hospital Association
supported Sub. for 374
supported HB 2069

University of Kansas Hospital Authority
supported HB 2069
supported SB 374

Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System
opposed SB 142
supported Sub. for SB 374
supported HB 2069

Via Christi Health
supported Sub. for SB 374
supported HB 2069

Saint Luke’s Health System
supported HB 2069

 

Law and justice organizations

Kansas Association for Justice
supported SB 374
opposed HB 2069 and HB 2123
supported SB 142

Kansas Bar Association
supported SB 374
opposed HB 2069 and HB 2123
supported SB 142

Kansas Judicial Council
supported SB 374
supported SB 142

 

Citizen organizations

Kansas Advocates for Better Care
supported SB 374
opposed HB 2069
supported SB 142

AARP Kansas
opposed Sub. for SB 374
opposed HB 2069 and HB 2123

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