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A373, R445, S1059
Sponsors: Senators Hutto, Gregory, Hawkins, Campsen, Cleary, Lourie, Alexander, Martin and Short
Document Path: l:\s-jud\bills\hutto\jud0043.cbh.doc
Introduced in the Senate on January 18, 2006
Introduced in the House on April 27, 2006
Last Amended on April 25, 2006
Passed by the General Assembly on June 1, 2006
Governor's Action: June 9, 2006, Signed
Summary: Unanticipated Medical Outcome Reconciliation Act
HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS
Date Body Action Description with journal page number ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1/18/2006 Senate Introduced and read first time SJ-7 1/18/2006 Senate Referred to Committee on Judiciary SJ-7 1/25/2006 Senate Referred to Subcommittee: Hutto (ch), Gregory, Hawkins, Campsen, Courson, Lourie 3/1/2006 Senate Committee report: Favorable with amendment Judiciary SJ-23 3/2/2006 Scrivener's error corrected 4/25/2006 Senate Amended SJ-47 4/25/2006 Senate Read second time SJ-47 4/26/2006 Senate Read third time and sent to House SJ-30 4/27/2006 House Introduced and read first time HJ-6 4/27/2006 House Referred to Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs HJ-6 5/3/2006 House Recalled from Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs HJ-29 5/3/2006 House Referred to Committee on Judiciary HJ-29 5/30/2006 House Recalled from Committee on Judiciary HJ-31 5/31/2006 House Read second time HJ-39 6/1/2006 House Read third time and enrolled HJ-23 6/7/2006 Ratified R 445 6/9/2006 Signed By Governor 6/16/2006 Copies available 6/16/2006 Effective date 06/09/06 6/23/2006 Act No. 373
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VERSIONS OF THIS BILL
(A373, R445, S1059)
AN ACT TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 19-1-190 SO AS TO ENACT THE "SOUTH CAROLINA UNANTICIPATED MEDICAL OUTCOME RECONCILIATION ACT" WHICH CONTAINS CERTAIN FINDINGS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, DEFINITIONS OF CERTAIN TERMS, PROVIDES THAT IN A CLAIM BROUGHT BY OR ON BEHALF OF A PATIENT ALLEGEDLY EXPERIENCING AN UNANTICIPATED OUTCOME OF MEDICAL CARE, CERTAIN STATEMENTS, GESTURES, ACTIVITIES OR CONDUCT EXPRESSING BENEVOLENCE, REGRET, APOLOGY, CONDOLENCE, MISTAKE, OR ERROR MADE BY A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER OR HIS EMPLOYEE TO CERTAIN PERSONS ARE INADMISSIBLE AS EVIDENCE AND DO NOT CONSTITUTE AN ADMISSION OF LIABILITY OR AN ADMISSION AGAINST INTEREST, TO PROVIDE THAT A DEFENDANT IN A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ACTION MAY WAVE THE INADMISSIBILITY OF CERTAIN STATEMENTS, AND TO PROVIDE THAT NOTHING IN THIS SECTION AFFECTS THE SOUTH CAROLINA RULES OF EVIDENCE.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
South Carolina Unanticipated Medical Outcome Reconciliation Act
SECTION 1. Chapter 1, Title 19 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 19-1-190. (A) This section may be cited as the 'South Carolina Unanticipated Medical Outcome Reconciliation Act'.
(B) The General Assembly finds that conduct, statements, or activity constituting voluntary offers of assistance or expressions of benevolence, regret, mistake, error, sympathy, or apology between or among parties or potential parties to a civil action should be encouraged and should not be considered an admission of liability. The General Assembly further finds that such conduct, statements, or activity should be particularly encouraged between health care providers, health care institutions, and patients experiencing an unanticipated outcome resulting from their medical care. Regulatory and accreditation agencies are in some instances requiring health care providers and health care institutions to discuss the outcomes of their medical care and treatment with their patients, including unanticipated outcomes, and studies have shown such discussions foster improved communications and respect between provider and patient, promote quicker recovery by the patient, and reduce the incidence of claims and lawsuits arising out of such unanticipated outcomes. The General Assembly, therefore, concludes certain steps should be taken to promote such conduct, statements, or activity by limiting their admissibility in civil actions.
(C) As used in this section, the term:
(1) 'Ambulatory surgical facility' means a licensed, distinct, freestanding, self-contained entity that is organized, administered, equipped, and operated exclusively for the purpose of performing surgical procedures or related care, treatment, procedures, and/or services, by licensed health care providers or health care institutions, for which patients are scheduled to arrive, receive surgery or related care, treatment, procedures, and/or services, and be discharged on the same day. This term does not include abortion clinics.
(2) 'Designated meeting' means any meeting scheduled by the health care provider, representative or agent of a health care provider, or representative or agent of a health care institution:
(a) to discuss the outcome including any unanticipated outcome of the provider or institution's medical care and treatment with the patient, patient's relative or representative; or
(b) to offer an expression of benevolence, regret, mistake, error, sympathy, or apology between or among parties or potential parties to a civil action.
(3) 'Health care institution' means an ambulatory surgical facility, a hospital, an institutional general infirmary, a nursing home, or a renal dialysis facility.
(4) 'Health care provider' means a physician, surgeon, osteopath, nurse, oral surgeon, dentist, pharmacist, chiropractor, optometrist, podiatrist, or similar category of licensed health care provider, including a health care practice, association, partnership, or other legal entity.
(5) 'Hospital' means a licensed facility with an organized medical staff to maintain and operate organized facilities and services to accommodate two or more nonrelated persons for the diagnosis, treatment, and care of such persons over a period exceeding twenty-four hours and provides medical and surgical care of acute illness, injury, or infirmity and may provide obstetrical care, and in which all diagnoses, treatment, or care are administered by or performed under the direction of persons currently licensed to practice medicine and surgery in the State of South Carolina. This term includes a hospital that provides specialized service for one type of care, such as tuberculosis, maternity, or orthopedics.
(6) 'Institutional general infirmary' means a licensed facility which is established within the jurisdiction of a larger nonmedical institution and which maintains and operates organized facilities and services to accommodate two or more nonrelated students, residents, or inmates with illness, injury, or infirmity for a period exceeding twenty-four hours for the diagnosis, treatment, and care of such persons and which provides medical, surgical, and professional nursing care, and in which all diagnoses, treatment, or care are administered by or performed under the direction of persons currently licensed to practice medicine and surgery in the State of South Carolina.
(7) 'Nursing home' means a licensed facility with an organized nursing staff to maintain and operate organized facilities and services to accommodate two or more unrelated persons over a period exceeding twenty-four hours which is operated either in connection with a hospital or as a freestanding facility for the express or implied purpose of providing skilled nursing services for persons who are not in need of hospital care. This term does not include assisted living, independent living, or community residential care facilities that do not provide skilled nursing services.
(8) 'Renal dialysis facility' means an outpatient facility which offers staff assisted dialysis or training and supported services for self-dialysis to end-stage renal disease patients.
(9) 'Skilled nursing services' means services that:
(a) are ordered by a physician;
(b) require the skills of technical or professional personnel such as registered nurses, licensed practical (vocational) nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech pathologists or audiologists; and
(c) are furnished directly by or under the supervision of such personnel.
(10) 'Unanticipated outcome' means the outcome of a medical treatment or procedure, whether or not resulting from an intentional act, that differs from an expected or intended result of such medical treatment or procedure.
(D) In any claim or civil action brought by or on behalf of a patient allegedly experiencing an unanticipated outcome of medical care, any and all statements, affirmations, gestures, activities, or conduct expressing benevolence, regret, apology, sympathy, commiseration, condolence, compassion, mistake, error, or a general sense of benevolence which are made by a health care provider, an employee or agent of a health care provider, or by a health care institution to the patient, a relative of the patient, or a representative of the patient and which are made during a designated meeting to discuss the unanticipated outcome shall be inadmissible as evidence and shall not constitute an admission of liability or an admission against interest.
(E) The defendant in a medical malpractice action may waive the inadmissibility of the statements defined in subsection (D) of this section.
(F) Nothing in this section affects the South Carolina Rules of Evidence."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
Ratified the 7th day of June, 2006.
Approved the 9th day of June, 2006.
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