House Bill 276, which the Ohio House of Representatives passed this week by a 57-32 vote, would expand Ohio’s apology statute and make inadmissible reimbursement rules and policies. The Ohio Senate has yet to indicate when it will begin debating the bill.

A collaborative effort from the Ohio Hospital Association, the Ohio State Medical Association and Catholic Health Partners resulted in the passage of this legislation, the goal of which is to improve transparency and encourage empathy between doctors and their patients and families.

If adopted, the bill will amend Ohio Revised Code 2317.43-.45 with two primary changes expanding Ohio’s apology statute:

  • Any statements expressing error or fault made by a healthcare practitioner to a patient related to an unanticipated outcome of medical care would not be admissible as evidence of an admission of liability in a civil action brought by a patient or patient’s family. For example, a doctor wanting to express empathy to a patient’s family after an unanticipated outcome would be able to do so without any empathetic statements being admissible should litigation ensue.
  • Any communications made to a victim or victim’s relative following an unanticipated outcome of medical care and made as part of a review in good faith by the provider into the cause of or reasons for the unanticipated outcome generally would be inadmissible as evidence. Any reviews a hospital may choose to initiate would be entirely voluntary, in the hopes of encouraging a new level of transparency between a hospital and patient.