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Ben Glass
Ben Glass
Attorney • (703) 584-7277

Important Patient Safety Bill

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What if your HMO doctor ordered a test by an outside radiologist who then reported the results back to the HMO doctor, and the doctor never read the results, resulting in your death? What if the doctors then pointed fingers at each other, forcing the patient’s family to trial? This stuff goes on all the time in Virginia courts.

This sad but true set of facts is being litigated right now in a medical malpractice lawsuit pending in Fairfax Circuit Court.

As is often the case, the doctors at issue are each pointing fingers at each other. The HMO doctor claims the radiologist should not only have faxed the report (which was entered in into the HMO’s computer system but never read by the doctor) but should have called him directly.

The radiologist not only says that he DID call the doctor (and couldn’t get through) but that this particular major HMO has a system so poor that doctors can NEVER get through to a responsible doctor or nurse.

This problem, which is somewhat typical for some major HMO’s would be alleviated to great extent by a bill now pending in Virginia’s General Assembly.

HB 3061 (Licensed pratitioner; authority to send laboratory results directly to patient) would give patients the right to request that laboratory results such as radiology reports we provided directly the patient (in addition to the doctor).

The proposed new Virginia Patient Safety Law says:

Health professions; authority to send laboratory test results directly to patients. Requires any health care practitioner licensed pursuant to Title 54.1 who orders a laboratory test or other examination of the physical or mental condition of any person to, if so requested by the patient or his legal guardian, inform the laboratory or other facility conducting the test or examination to provide a copy of the report of the results directly to the patient or his legal guardian. This bill incorporates HB 2843.

Note from Virginia Medical Malpractice Attorney Ben Glass:

We support this much needed statute as critical to increasing patient safety in Virginia. Far too many patients have been injured or killed because doctors refuse to let the patient in on what lab studies show. Open and honest communication is one of the keys to good medical care.