Taipei, May 30 (CNA) The Legislative Yuan on Monday passed a bill to resolve medical disputes by requiring patients and hospitals go through a mediation process in both civil and criminal cases before resorting to the courts.
Under the newly passed bill, medical institutions are prohibited from refusing to provide medical records to patients or their families and attorneys during the mediation process.
Violations are subject to a fine ranging from NT$50,000 (US$1,715) to NT$250,000, and will be followed by further financial punishments if the violation is not corrected, according to the new law.
The bill’s date of implementation is pending an announcement by the Executive Yuan.
The bill was proposed by the Cabinet on April 28. In addition, the Cabinet noted that in order to avoid medical disputes, some doctors have shunned certain areas of medicine where the risk of disputes with patients is statistically higher.
The newly passed bill requires local governments to set up their own mediation committees, where patients or their families and attorneys and doctors can discuss disputes and work to reach agreement.
According to the new law, mediation is allowed to continue for three months, but if both sides agree, their mediation can be extended for an additional period of three months.
Mediation committees should include medical experts, legal professionals and those with necessary knowledge from third parties, and can have between nine and 45 members, according to the new law.
It also requires members outside the medical profession and men/women to account for at least one-third of the total.
During the mediation process, the new law will ban medical institutions from refusing to provide medical records, hospital visits and information on related important issues.
In addition, hospitals are not allowed to block patients from accessing the medical data they need or fabricate medical reports.
The new law also requires hospitals to establish a special task force within five days of a medical dispute occurring to communicate with patients, their families and attorneys.
The task force is expected to provide necessary assistance to patients and their families or attorneys as a way of promoting better communication, according the new law.
Medical disputes currently under investigation by the authorities or that are heard by a court before the new law goes into force will not be subject to the new requirements.