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

New Malpractice Database for Washington D.C. Doctors

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The D.C. City Council has passed legislation which will require, as of July 2007, doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers to report “adverse medical events” to a centralized medical malpractice database being created by the City Medical Board. (See the Washington Post article on this development in Washington D.C. medical malpractice law here.) Apparently, doctors will have 60 days to report judgments and settlements arising from malpractice allegations as well as disciplinary actions imposed in another state. This new law mimics what is currently available in Maryland and Virginia.

Note from Washington, DC medical malpractice attorney Ben Glass: While at first glance a “physician’s database” seems like a good idea the practical reality, as seen across the country in states that have enacted similar legislation is that these databases make malpractice cases more difficult to settle. Insurance companies often give doctors the power to “veto” reasonable settlement opportunities in malpractice claims. Doctors often do veto settlement opportunities and go to trial out of “fear” of being reported to the database. This results in more cases being tried and increases the cost of medical malpractice insurance across the board.

Another problem is that the websites that consumers can use to obtain information about doctors offers only vague information. Absent knowing that a doctor has lost his license there really is no useful information in Virginia’s database.