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New Mass. Law Changes Malpractice Procedures

SHANNON YOUNG, Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — Medical malpractice overhaul provisions included in a new Massachusetts health care law aim to expedite legal processes and the amount of time it takes patients to receive compensation, as well as increase safety by preventing future mistakes.

The new health care cost containment law, recently signed by Gov. Deval Patrick, requires doctors to disclose when they have made a medical error, establishes a 182-day “cooling-off” period before a medical malpractice case can head to trial, and mandates that information between a plaintiff and defendant is exchanged, among other things.

Supporters of the changes say the new provisions will encourage parties to reach settlements prior to court and improve patient safety by allowing doctors to better report mistakes and learn from them.


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