Medico-legal advice and assistance
Providing medico-legal advice and assistance
The CMPA is there for our members with expert, empathetic, physician-to-physician support and guidance, helping them navigate the medico-legal challenges of medical practice and enhance the safety of their care. Each year we:
- Respond to over 24,000 advice calls and supported thousands of members across the country, providing compassionate support and expert guidance to help members manage patient safety challenges. Members who speak to one of our 45+ experienced physician advisors report a: 96% satisfaction rate; 70% reduction in severe stress levels (see 2021 Annual Report).
- Provide ethical defence, when appropriate, to eligible members experiencing medico-legal issues. The decision to assist in each particular case is discretionary and is guided by a set of principles.
- Deliver regular and timely patient safety learning activities and risk management information and advice through our articles, eBlasts, monthly eBulletins, Good Practice resources, podcasts, electronic learning activities, and workshops.
CMPA members are eligible for assistance with medico-legal events related to the practice of medicine.
Like all individuals, physicians have the right to a fair process. When a patient or family initiates a civil action against a member, our role is to assist the member in dealing with the action, provide legal representation, and defend the member if medical expert opinion is that the standard of care was met.
If defence experts conclude the standard of care was not met and the breach of the standard caused the patient’s harm, we seek to explore settlement as soon as possible.
Historical experience shows that approximately one-third of cases that proceed through the medico-legal process are resolved with compensation to patients and their families, and, while the total annual amount varies, on behalf of its members, the CMPA paid a cumulative total of $1.2 billion in patient compensation over the last 5 years (2017-2021).
We exercise discretion when extending medico-legal assistance to members, based on the facts and circumstances of each particular situation. Discretion allows the flexibility to assist members, rather than limit assistance based on fixed and pre-determined conditions.
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