New Law Provides Medical Malpractice Information to Illinois Patients

Health care advocates are praising the passage of the Patients' Rights to Know Act, which makes important information about Illinois doctors easily accessible to patients. The new law, which had languished in the Illinois General Assembly for ten years, will require the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to publish an online profile of all licensed physicians and chiropractors in the state.

In addition to information about the doctor's education, board certifications and practice history, every profile will include records from the last five years regarding:

  • Criminal convictions for felonies and Class A misdemeanors, as well as any professional disciplinary actions
  • Information regarding hospital privileges, including revocation of privileges
  • A record of terminations from previous positions
  • All court judgments, arbitration awards and settlements of medical malpractice claims, including those currently under appeal

The legislation, which still awaits the governor's expected signature, provides much-needed transparency to patients who are considering their health care options. Any information about previous surgical errors, birth injuries or failures to diagnose or properly treat patients is welcome to an individual, parent or other family member prior to a major medical procedure.

Illinois Medical Malpractice Attorneys Protect Patients' Rights

Providing detailed histories of doctors is just one way that legal developments can help to reduce the incidence of medical negligence that leads to patient harm. The sponsor of the bill, State Rep. Mary Flowers, credited a Chicago Tribune investigation involving licensed physicians with sex-offender records as providing the momentum to finally overcome the medical lobby's opposition of the bill.

Patients deserve to know as much as possible about their caregivers, but reforms won't eliminate all of the harm caused by medical malpractice. Illinois medical malpractice lawyers can help clients assess the complexities of a potential case and recommend whether legal action is warranted.

But once the Patients' Rights to Know Act is signed by the governor, individuals will have a powerful tool to gain assurance that the doctors they depend on do not have recent criminal records, a history of underperformance or any other skeletons in their closets.