Minnesota CANDOR Act Resources
On August 1, 2023, a transformative shift in healthcare communication took place as the Minnesota CANDOR Act (bill SF2909) came into effect. With the increasing frequency of nuclear verdicts, Candor is a welcome new tool.
This legislation, inspired by similar efforts in other states, aims to revolutionize the way physicians and patients navigate the aftermath of adverse medical events (AMEs).
Access Minnesota CANDOR Act Resources
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) CANDOR Toolkit
- COPIC Guide for the Minnesota CANDOR Act
- COPIC Minnesota CANDOR Act Resource Toolkit
The Minnesota CANDOR Act
CANDOR stands for Communication and Optimal Resolution and is an outgrowth of projects born primarily in academic settings in the late 1980s to improve outcomes and reduce the effects of adverse medical events (AMEs). A CANDOR process encourages a more humanistic response to an AME for patients and families as well as the care-providers that might have been involved. The recent Minnesota legislation, closely patterned on a similar bill passed in Colorado, defines a “health care adverse incident” as an objective and definable outcome arising from or related to patient care that results in death or physical injury to the patient. It defines “health care provider” as a person who is licensed, certified, registered or otherwise permitted by state law to administer health care and practices at a health facility.
The act specifies that it only applies to care delivered after August 1, 2023, and to specifically to AMEs where avoidable death or permanent disability are present. The approach could inform response to any instance of any AME within a facility.
Adoption and Implementation
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) offers an extensive toolkit as a reference for organizational leaders who are committed to improving their response to unexpected events that harm patients. The guide presents these leaders with a clearly and highly detailed explanation of the CANDOR process, implementation phases, as well as resources and responsibilities to support successful implementation at their organization. It is recommended that individuals who are responsible for leading implementation consult this guide in combination with their organization’s legal counsel and malpractice insurance provider. Leaders who have accepted responsibility for implementing the CANDOR process are encouraged to share this guide with all team members, including the patient and family advisors.
Organizations committed to the program should expect to implement a number of new practices to improve communication and response to adverse events. The guide provides additional details and guidance on several important activities including:
- Forming an active, multidisciplinary project team that includes clinicians, support staff, and the patient and family advisors.
- Conducting training sessions on the CANDOR process for all project team members.
- Conducting ongoing communications and education with staff, patients, and families about the organization’s commitment to the CANDOR process.
- Engaging staff, patients, and families in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the CANDOR process.
The Minnesota CANDOR Act sets up a legal “safe space” for patients and providers to openly discuss the facts of an adverse event, ask questions and improve patient safety to reduce and prevent similar events from occurring. Patient compensation is still available if warranted, but this no longer serves as the primary motivator for resolution.
Though the law does not require patients to participate in the CANDOR process, anyone can enter into a less adversarial method for understanding what might have happened that caused or resulted in the adverse medical event even in a state without a formal candor law. In fact, there are a number of healthcare facilities that have already implemented a Candor process prior to some of the legal protections. Each health care institution has the flexibility to implement its own process for how to respond to an adverse event, and now expanded full legal protections, providers and patients can realize the full benefits of the process. Iowa, Colorado and Utah have similar legislation that created a protected CANDOR process.
While it’s too early to measure the full impact of the Minnesota CANDOR Act, its promise is undeniable. It signifies a commitment to a future where adverse medical events are more swiftly met with understanding, transparency, and a shared determination to reduce AMEs and promote empathetic care.
Nels E. Dyste is Vice President at Dyste Williams, an independent insurance agency serving healthcare clients in the Upper Midwest.
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