Concerns regarding the impact of our nation's medical liability system on the cost and availability of insurance has prompted numerous reforms modifying the rules of medical malpractice litigation. In recent years, reform efforts have focused more on reducing claims and promoting safety. This article seeks to discuss the impact of national reporting requirements of medical malpractice payments on modern reform efforts. Specifically, this article will examine a recent ruling from the Department of Health and Human Services ("DHHS") interpreting requirements to report payments for medical malpractice claims to the National Practitioner Data Bank ("NPDB"), how those requirements affect legislative programs enacted and implemented in Massachusetts and Oregon, and whether they serve to hamper reform efforts that encourage alternative dispute resolution. Despite their goal to monitor physician competence and ultimately improve patient safety, the NPDB reporting requirements may actually serve to encourage litigation rather than alternative dispute resolution. This, by affirming the applicability of the NPDB reporting requirements to recent legislation, the DHHS ruling may serve to hamper efforts at reform.
Jena Druck, Massachusetts and Oregon Laws Encourage Early Resolution of Medical Malpractice Claims: DHHS Threatens to Hinder Reform, 7 Y.B. Arb. & Mediation 142 (2015).