The Legislative Yuan on Monday passed a bill to resolve medical disputes by requiring people and hospitals go through mediation in civil and criminal cases before resorting to the courts.
Under the bill — which is to be implemented pending an announcement by the Executive Yuan — medical institutions are prohibited from refusing to provide medical records to patients or their families and attorneys during the mediation process.
Those who contravene the rules would be fined NT$50,000 to NT$250,000, with further financial sanctions if the breach is not corrected, the bill says.
The bill was proposed by the Cabinet on April 28.
In addition, the Cabinet said that to avoid medical disputes, some doctors have shunned certain areas of medicine where the risk of disputes with patients is statistically higher.
The bill requires local governments to set up their own mediation committees, at which patients or their families and attorneys, and doctors can discuss disputes and work to reach an agreement.
Mediation would continue for up to three months, and if both sides agree, for an additional 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, the bill says.
It also requires members from outside the medical profession, while males and females must have at least one-third representation.
The bill 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 to promote better communication.
Medical disputes that are under investigation or that are before a court when the new law goes into force would not be subject to the new requirements.
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