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Revised Florida Medical Malpractice Law May Be Going to Ballot

For more than a decade, Florida has been battling over the release of medical malpractice records in lawsuits. In 2004, voters agreed that adverse incident reports of health care providers should be made available to patients. Now, residents may be asked to weigh in on this issue once again as committees are looking to limit access to these reports.

The Constitution Revision Commission is looking to amend the law in the interest of protecting attorney-client privilege. The commission believes that guaranteed access to these adverse medical incident reports is not in the best interest of the public. They believe that such information should not be shared and disseminated with others, and it is hopeful that Florida voters will agree.

Under the proposed amendment, the Florida Constitution would be amended to limit the types of records that could be used in lawsuits filed against doctors, medical staff and hospitals in a medical malpractice case. The amendment would also make it so that adverse incident reports would exclude documents that are protected by federal laws and relating to patient safety and quality improvement.

In addition, the amendment would make it clear that access to adverse medical incident reports would not “abrogate attorney-client communications or work product privileges for patients, health care providers or health care facilities.”

The proposed amendment came about after an incident in October. The Supreme Court overturned a decision by an appeals court, in which Bartow Regional Medical Center would have been allowed to avoid turning over records that were prepared outside of the usual peer review process.

The Constitution Revision Commission claims that the Amendment 7, which was approved by 81 percent of voters in 2004, negatively impacts hospitals’ abilities to prepare for litigation. This was not supposed to be the original intent of the bill.

How This Affects Florida Residents

The Constitution Revision Commission meets once every 20 years and is looking to put this issue on the 2018 ballot. Therefore, Florida residents may be able to vote on whether or not to approve this amendment come November.

Amendment 7 currently allows patients to view adverse medical incident records, but the proposed amendment will limit it to some degree. The state has already taken steps to limit lawsuits that can be filed against medical providers, as well as limited compensation for pain and suffering in medical malpractice cases.

Voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 7 and now that lawmakers aren’t happy with it, they want to rewrite to fit their needs. This proposed amendment would favor hospitals and medical providers. Patients’ rights would be limited even more than before.

Contact a Miami Medical Malpractice Lawyer for Assistance

Those injured by medical malpractice in Miami should have access to reports of adverse incidents among health care providers. After all, our health is the most important thing we have, and it’s crucial that we are able to make informed decisions regarding health care for ourselves and our loved ones.

If you or a loved one was injured by medical negligence, seek legal help from the team at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP. Contact our Miami medical malpractice lawyers today at (305) 371-2692 or visit us online.