North Carolina to Publish Data Regarding “Confidential” Med Mal Settlements

Under a new North Carolina regulation, details regarding North Carolina medical malpractice settlements will soon be posted online for patients to view.

Confidential out-of-court settlements have long been the option of choice for medical malpractice defendants in North Carolina and elsewhere. However, if the North Carolina Board of Medical Examiners gets its way, North Carolina providers will be required to provide details regarding every medical malpractice settlement pursuant to which the provider or his or her insurance carrier paid the plaintiff $25,000 or more. Likewise, information must be provided regarding litigation that results in the entry of a monetary judgment. These details will then be posted on the Medical Examiner’s website so that the data can be reviewed by patients and other members of the public.

Under the new law, the following information must be provided regarding all settlements dating back to October 1, 2007, regardless of whether or not the parties’ settlement agreement contained a confidentiality provision:

  1. The date the judgment or settlement was paid.
  2. The specialty in which the doctor was practicing at the time the incident occurred that resulted in the judgment or settlement.
  3. The total amount of the judgment or settlement in United States dollars.
  4. The city, state, and country in which the judgment or settlement occurred.
  5. The date of the occurrence of the events leading to the judgment or settlement.

The North Carolina Board of Medical Examiners estimates that the new information will be available online in approximately one year. However, according to news reports, it is possible that North Carolina’s legislature will take action invalidating the new regulations before this information becomes available to the public.

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