Patients pursuing medical malpractice claims face many hurdles in their fights for justice. One of the biggest problems that patients face in these situations is the lack of transparency when something goes wrong. The Quality of Care Information Protection Act (QCIPA) is an example of how information is withheld from patients, their families and the public. The QCIPA was designed to improve care after a medical error occurs through open dialogue, problem-solving and information sharing, but instead, it has offered hospitals and medical professionals a cone of silence. The QCIPA allows information gathered by hospital error investigations to be deemed “quality of care information,” which means that it cannot be shared, even with the patient who suffered because of a care problem. Even though it was designed to help, the QCIPA currently operates as a major barrier to justice.
We hope the proposed changes to the QCIPA will be forthcoming and will make it easier for all patients and families who have been touched by a medical tragedy to get to the truth.