Our state lawmakers took an important step forward in protecting the rights of all patients this week with the passage of the Patients’ Right to Know Act. As described this week in the Chicago Tribune, the bill requires a variety of information to be shared about medical providers in the state. It will allow all patients to make more informed choices about who they entrust with their care.
The bill was passed in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly and will now be sent to the Governor’s desk for his signature-it is expected that the Governor will do so. Once that occurs, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation will begin collecting information to share on a publically-accessible website.
Under the terms of the legislation, doctor histories will now be available for public view. Those histories include information on whether or not the physician has previously been fired, been convicted of any crimes, or made Illinois medical malpractice payments in the past years. The chief sponsor of the measure, Representative Mary Flowers explained that “this is going to be an excellent way for patients to protect themselves.”
The measure faced stiff opposition from the Illinois State Medical Society-the main doctor lobbying arm. The organization had worked for nearly a decade to keep the information away from patients. The profiles were temporarily available as part of the medical malpractice cap bill which passed in 2005. However, when the state Supreme Court ruled the caps unconstitutional the state department immediately pulled the information from the website. This bill will return that information.
Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti applaud the effort of lawmakers to take this common sense step to protect patients. Doctors are entrusted with life and death matters. It is entirely reasonable that patients should be able to examine basic information about those physicians which may have a bearing on the care that they receive.
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