Gov’t starts medical malpractice arbitration panel

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Gov’t starts medical malpractice arbitration panel

Starting next April, the government will pay 70 percent of the compensation awarded in medical malpractice suits, and a new arbitration system will speed up the process.

The remaining 30 percent of the compensation will be paid by hospitals.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare said yesterday that a Medical Mediation Act was approved by public officials during a cabinet meeting.

Until now, there was no governmental arbitration body dealing with medical mistakes and malpractices, so patients or their families had to go through a lengthy legal process. Malpractice suits went on for more than two years on average.

Under the new Medical Mediation Act, an arbitration body will be established to decide compensation for victims of medical mistakes. The act stipulates that cases should be completed within 120 days. The arbitration body is the first of its kind to be founded by the government and will be comprised of doctors, lawyers and members of consumer rights groups.

There are complaints being raised by obstetricians, however, who are requesting the government to cover 100 percent of the compensation granted to their patients.

“They are complaining that they are having difficulty making profits because of the low birthrate,” said a ministry official. “But strictly speaking, they should be responsible for all mistakes happening, not the government.”

By Lee Eun-joo []
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