Washington State patients can breathe a bit better now that law SHB 1493
has been signed. It increases transparency with medical boards that discipline
physicians receiving complaints.
Prior to the law, patients who complained about medical errors to state
disciplinary boards found their concerns entering a black hole. This is
precisely what happened to Yanling Yu and Rex Johnson, who filed a complaint
against a doctor who treated Yu’s father. Yu’s father allegedly
died from an allergic reaction to a medication. Yu and Johnson’s
complaint, filed with the Washington Medical Quality Assurance Commission,
entered the black hole. Frustrated by the lack of response and information
from the board, Yu and Johnson targeted changing the law.
The new law requires disciplinary boards to address inquiries about the
status of a complaint in a timely fashion. The boards must also notify
the complainant when the issue has reached a resolution. The bill also
allows input from the patients and patients’ families regarding
the complaint. For more information, see