The California Legislature has approved a bill that requires public disclosure for the first time of some information about doctors' medical malpractice settlements. The bill, which is awaiting the governor's signature, would require the state medical board to publish settlements on its Web site if a doctor in a "low-risk" specialty, such as family practice, has been involved in at least three settlements of more than $30,000 over a 10-year period. Doctors in "high-risk" specialties, such as neurology, would need four or more settlements to trigger disclosure. The medical board would not be allowed to disclose the dollar amount of settlements but would indicate whether it is below average, average or above average compared with settlements involving other doctors in the same specialty. The board does not currently disclose any settlement information; under existing law, only court judgments against doctors must be made public. -- by Laura B. Benko
Calif. may publish many malpractice settlements
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