Medical Malpractice Claims Against Public Sector Health Providers Must Be Submitted to a Medical Review Panel
The State of Louisiana Division of Administration, headquartered in Baton Rouge, requires that that medical malpractice claims against public sector health care providers must be processed through its administrative procedure, starting with the submission of the claim to the Commissioner of Administration.
A request for a Medical Review Panel must be in writing and contain:
– A request for the formation of a Medical Review Panel (“Panel” or “MPR”).
– The patient’s name.
– The claimants’ name(s).
– Identification of defendant state health care providers.
– The dates of the alleged malpractice.
– A short narrative of the alleged malpractice for each state health care provider identified as a defendant.
– A short statement of the purported injuries
Once the claim has been filed, several time-sensitive procedures are triggered. First, the Commissioner of Administration, to whom the claim is submitted, has 30 days to complete the following:
– Let the claimant know that the complaint was received.
– Determine whether or not the defendant is a public health care provider qualified with the State of Louisiana.
– Confirm the amount of filing fee paid or owed.
- If no filing fee is received with the complaint, the Commissioner will respond to claimant, advise of the requirements, request that the filing fees be paid and calendar forty-five (45) days to receive either the fees from claimant, an affidavit or forma pauperis ruling.
- If payment is received with the complaint, the Commissioner will advise the claimant, and inform the Office of Risk Management which will notify the defendant(s) and assign an attorney to represent them.
– Once all defendants named in the complaint are notified of the filing, the Commissioner will request that a Panel be formed.
Then, before the claim can move forward, it must be submitted to the Panel which generally has twelve (12) months after its chairman is selected to issue a decision on the claim. The parties determine the chairman from a list of five local attorneys submitted to the Commissioner of Administration by the Clerk of the Supreme Court. The Panel also contains 3 physicians; each party selects one and then those selected physicians select the third physician.
Once the Panel is formed, the parties may submit evidence and testimony for its consideration and can convene the Panel at a mutually convenient time and place. Within 30 days, but in all events within 180 days from when the last Panel member is selected, it shall issue its expert opinion.
If the Panel finds in favor of the Defendant(s) the Division of Administration shall pay the costs of the Panel. If it finds in favor of the Claimant, he shall pay the costs. If, however, the Panel finds that there is a material factual issue that needs resolution in court, the costs shall be split between the claimant and the Division of Administration.
The Claimant must pay a filing fee within forty-five days of the acknowledgment letter from the Commissioner – it is $100 per named defendant. But, this fee may be waived by either the submission of an affidavit by a physician certifying that the claim constitutes a breach or an in forma paureris ruling issued by a district court holding that the malpractice claim could properly be brought.
Submitting a claim for medical malpractice pursuant to this requirement and its procedures can be an intimidating prospect. In order to bring a successful claim, one really should seek expert advice from an attorney to navigate the often confusing and technical waters of this administrative process.