A letter from my mother to members of the Kansas House Committee on Judiciary

As I reported in this post, my mother and I testified before the Kansas House Committee on Judiciary about our bill (HB 2376) to require disclosure of harmful medical errors and unanticipated outcomes. Also heard that day was an apology bill that would alter rules of evidence in malpractice cases. The committee chair (Lance Kinzer) decided to have the committee work on the apology bill last Monday, but not our bill. My mother traveled back to Topeka to be present for that meeting.

I asked my mother to listen for two things: (1) what problem the committee thought they were addressing with the apology bill, and (2) how often the discussion mentioned physicians and patients. My position is that this bill could address only two types of problems: Either there is a problem of inappropriate evidence being used in malpractice cases (and then I would expect to see examples of this inappropriate evidence brought up during their discussion), or it is a problem that many other states have these types of laws but Kansas does not—causing Kansas to look deficient in legislative output (and the bill will correct this deficiency by adding one more state statue). This bill does nothing to ensure that patients are informed about medical errors. That would require a disclosure bill, such as HB 2376. And of course and it does nothing to help prevent those errors.

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Testimony by groups opposing my family’s bill

In an earlier post I wrote about the experience of providing testimony before the Kansas House Committee on Judiciary about my family’s bill (as well as testimony against HB 2523, an apology bill). In this post I look at the testimony presented by other groups about these two bills.

No group supported our bill. I was not surprised by this, because there is something in it for everyone to dislike. Continue reading

My big yellow sign

In my last post I wrote about the experience of testifying before the Kansas House Committee on Judiciary about my family’s bill. In both my written and oral testimony I posed a critical question: Do patients have the right to know about unanticipated medical outcomes and harmful errors that occur in their care?

If patients do not have this right, then our bill has no basis. And if patients do not have this right, then patients need to realize this. So I asked that a new law be written that would require this sign to be displayed at every public entrance of every healthcare facility in the state: Continue reading

My family’s testimony before the Kansas House Committee on Judiciary

Last Monday my mother and I testified before the Kansas House Committee on Judiciary in support of our bill that requires disclosure of harmful medical errors to patients (and it also protects disclosure conversations from use as evidence of fault in court).

Testimony was heard on two bills during the hour-and-a-half hearing. HB 2523 (an apology protections bill) was heard first. Our bill was heard second. Continue reading

Exactly who and what is covered in the proposed legislation

One decision my mother and I had to make when writing our bill was the scope. How much of the healthcare system should be affected by this requirement for disclosure? We tried to find a balance between being broad enough to cover most cases of serious unanticipated outcomes and errors, but narrow enough to be manageable. (But if the healthcare community would like to expand the language in the bill to cover more providers and facilities, we certainly support that.)

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The Kansas organizations that should have opinions are…

I spent all day looking through the previous Kansas apology bills, notes on those bills, and committee meeting notes that mention which organizations supported or opposed the bills. I compiled the history of the bills and a list of the organizations that provided testimony here.

My purpose was to figure out what organizations are likely to have an opinion on my family’s bill. Our bill provides more protection for apologies than any of the previous bills, but it also requires the disclosure of unanticipated outcomes and medical errors. Continue reading