The Alaska Legislature has passed House Bill 250, which will make apologies, expressions of sympathy, words of compassion and similar expressions by clinicians inadmissible in a medical malpractice case.

The legislation is based on the rationale that practitioners who apologize to patients, or express sympathy for bad outcomes, are less likely to be sued.

In addition to making apologies inadmissible as evidence, HB 250 also prohibits the admission of “an offer of correction, remediation, or settlement by a health care provider in a medical malpractice cause of action.”

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HB 250 does not protect health care providers who make an apology in conjunction with liability or negligence.  Under the new legislation, only the expression of apology or sympathy is inadmissible — the admission of liability or negligence on the part of the health care provider may be used as evidence.