Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy (PhD)

Degree Level



Public Policy


Leah Jean Henry

Committee Member

Valerie H. Hunt

Second Committee Member

Susan Kane Patton


Disclosure Legislation, Medical Error, Medical Error Disclosure


Medical error is a public health problem in the United States (U.S.), causing approximately 250,000 hospital deaths per year. Health care leaders and policy-makers have identified medical error disclosure as one of many viable evidence-based solutions to address the problem of medical error – leading to increased transparency in health care, improved patient outcomes, potential medical malpractice cost reduction, and decreased health care provider distress and turnover. Unfortunately, health care providers are often hesitant to practice disclosure and are not required to do so in most U.S. jurisdictions. A qualitative inquiry using content analysis was conducted to understand the language of disclosure laws identified in 11 states – Florida, South Carolina, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Connecticut, Maryland, Vermont, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Seven themes emerged from the legislative text data: 1) Individual(s) Notified of Medical Error; 2) Entity Disclosing Error; 3) Method of Disclosure; 4) Time of Disclosure; 5) Language Used to Describe Medical Error; 6) Enumerated Types of Medical Error; and 7) Legal Liability. This study revealed the potential importance of standardized nomenclature for medical error in disclosure legislation and the need for legal liability protections in all disclosure legislation – or reference to state apology law within disclosure legislative text.