Stricter control of medical error implemented

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It is compulsory. Local medical service providers will have to comply with an insurance scheme for civil liability from 26 February, following the conclusions of the Administrative Regulation project presented yesterday by the Macau SAR Government’s Executive Council.
In addition to the “compulsory insurance scheme for civil liability” government spokesperson Leung Hing Teng also presented the conclusions for two other Administrative Regulation projects – the “commission on medical error expertise,” and “Centre for Arbitration of Medical Litigation” – during a press conference held at Government Headquarters yesterday.
The three Administrative Regulations will be enacted on 26 February.
The main elements of the compulsory insurance scheme for civil liability consist of liability for damages to the physical or mental health of users, when caused by a medical act practiced by the health care provider; liability for damages arising from emergency medical care provided by the health care provider; and the payment of legal costs, attorney’s fees, and other expenses in connection with compensation for claims in accordance with the terms of the insurance contract.
The regulation also determines a minimum safe capital threshold. For individual healthcare providers, the minimum safe capital threshold is MOP500,000 (e.g.) traditional Chinese medical practice; MOP1 million (e.g.) “Western” medical practice; and MOP2 million, said Leung. For legal healthcare providers, the minimum safe capital threshold ranges from between MOP1 million to MOP20 million.
The length of the insurance contract is established at one year.
Replying to press queries, Leung Hing Teng explained that there are seven insurance providers capable of providing such services in Macau today.

Litigation
The Commission on Medical Error expertise will comprise seven professionals, with five from the medical field and two from the legal field, with at least ten years of experience each. One of the seven appointed members – by Executive Dispatch – will be nominated Commission President.
The request for the conducting of medial expertise will require health providers, users, or, in some cases, family members of users, to pay a fee, the amount of which will be published in the Official Dispatch following the enactment of the regulation, according to Leung.
As for the practice of arbitration on litigation cases ensuing from medical error, the new regulation mandates it will be established on a voluntary basis and free of charge. Arbitration procedures should take no longer than 120 days. The participation of lawyers is not compulsory. But no right of appeal on the decision is included in the regulation’s text.