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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

 3:37 PM 

Medical provider apology bill stalls on third reading

Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, objected to third reading of legislation to prohibit expressions of condolence or apology by health care providers from admission as evidence in medical malpractice cases.

The move -- which was upheld when a 20-13 vote to move to third reading failed to reach a two-thirds majority -- would stall the bill for the day on the final scheduled floor day this session.

Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, said the bill aims to break down “the wall of silence” between providers and patients, saying medical professionals are afraid of being sued at the most difficult times in patients’ lives.

Vukmir, a nurse, said delivering bad news to patients is “a very difficult time” and that sometimes “things just come out of your mouth because of the emotions of that time.”

“This bill protects conversations, not bad acts,” Vukmir said.

Dems, however, argued those conversations could take place under current law -- and the bill would establish the most “extreme” standard in the country for evidence in such cases.

“Instead of protecting our most vulnerable citizens, we are giving an ‘out,’” Taylor said.

Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, also criticized applying the law to disciplinary proceedings for health care workers, saying that goes “far, far afield.”


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