Transparency for Washington State Patients

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 this article.