Oregon Governor Talks Medical Malpractice Mediation
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has included mediation as a large part of his state medical reform intentions. He has suggested it to a committee that is looking into how the medical liability system works.
Mediation Would Not be the First Step
It wouldn't be the first step in the process, Kitzhaber says. First, the patient would need to discuss things with his or her doctor and/or health care provider. The provider would then have to make any offers of compensation (as well as an apology) before 90 days are up.
The provider would also have the option not to make an offer.
Where Do Mediation Services Come In?
Only if the patient disagrees or is dissatisfied with the ruling, would mediation come into play. The patient could enter into mediation on his or her own, or could hire a mediation attorney.
In the event the mediation services failed, then and only then could a patient take the case to court.
What is the Purpose of the Medical Reform?
To some, it may look like the governor just made things more difficult for patients to file suit in cases of malpractice. But it's also possible that, with a good mediation attorney, patients may be able to reach and obtain their settlements much more quickly, in certain cases, than if they had gone straight to court.
Republicans failed to pass a health reform bill backed by the governor in the state legislature. The governor says he still has plans to overhaul the Oregon Health Plan.
He conceived his latest mediation recommendations after closed-door meetings with representatives from doctor and lawyer groups.