Medical Malpractice Bills Passed by Wyoming House

March 2, 2005

The House on March 1 approved two bills that attempt to stem rising doctors’ liability insurance costs by allowing state officials to learn more about damage awards in malpractice cases and hospital mistakes that lead to lawsuits.

One bill would require insurance companies to report all claims against Wyoming health care providers to the state insurance commissioner annually.

By March 1 of each year, any insurer operating in the state would have to report, for each claim, the specialty of the provider, nature of the claim, age of the plaintiff and an itemized account of amounts paid, including medical costs, economic damages, non-economic damages such as for pain and suffering and defense attorney fees.

The names of the providers would remain confidential under the measure, which will head to Gov. Dave Freudenthal.

The second bill would require mandatory reporting of medical mistakes to the state Department of Health.

The bill would require health care facilities to report an “unexpected occurrence involving death or serious physical or psychological injury or the risk thereof.”

The measure will head back to the Senate for a vote on House changes, including adoption of a provision that would add more protection for doctors.

The provision would prohibit any member of the Health Department who receives any notice, report or document under the act from testifying in any civil case as to any evidence presented to the department or any findings, recommendations or opinions of the agency.

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