Louisiana Division of Administration

FAQ

If via Postal Mail (certified mail is in the best interest of the claimant), send to:
Commissioner of Administration
Attention: Medical Review Panel
P. O. Box 44336
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-4336

The physical address to file complaints:
Division of Administration
Attention: Medical Review Panel
1201 N. Third St. Suite 7-230
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Medical Review Panel faxed filings can only be sent to the following number:
225.342.1057 (if received after 5:00 p.m., will not be stamped until the next working date)

Once the claimant files the medical malpractice complaint, a number of responsibilities and time-sensitive deadlines are triggered. Included below is an overview of illustrative (but not exclusive) responsibilities and deadlines that govern claims filed:
Louisiana Revised Statute 40:1237.2-Administrative Procedural Outline

Duties of the Commissioner of Administration
Within 30 days of receipt of the claim:

1. Confirm to the claimant that the claimant's complaint has been received.
2. Determine whether the defendant is or is not a qualified public health care provider with State of Louisiana.
3. Determine amount of filing fee owed or paid.
a. If filing fee not paid, acknowledge claimant, advise of qualifications, request payment of filing fees and diary for 45 days for money to be collected from claimant, affidavit or forma pauperis ruling.
b. If filing fee paid, acknowledge claimant and advise the Office of Risk Management in order for an attorney to be assigned to represent and notify the defendant.
4. Notify all named defendants that a complaint has been filed as well as a request for the formation of a Medical Review Panel.

Medical Review Panel - Twelve Month / Court Order Delay
No court action can be taken until the claimant's complaint has been presented to the medical review panel.

EXCEPTION:
1. If the Defendant files an Answer to the Petition for Damages without filing an Exception of Prematurely, then he waives his right to have the matter reviewed by a Medical Review Panel in accordance with LSA 40:1299.47.
2. If the right to review by the medical review panel has not been waived, then the medical review panel must render an opinion within 12 months after the date of notification of the selection of the attorney chairman. If no such opinion is rendered, suit may be filed against a health care provider covered by this part.

However, upon showing good cause, the parties can request that the court grant an additional 12-month extension.

Finally if no action is taken within either the 12-month statutory period of a court-ordered extension, then the medical review panel shall be dissolved without the need of obtaining a court order of dissolution.


Suspension of Prescription Period
Prescription is suspended during the pendency of a matter before the medical review panel. The suspension of prescription shall cease, and the prescription shall begin to run again for complaints against a qualified health care provider 90 days after the chairman of the panel notifies all of the parties via certified mail of the dissolution of the medical review panel or ninety days after the expiration of any court-ordered extension.

SELECTION OF THE MEDICAL REVIEW PANEL

Selection of the attorney member of the panel
Generally the medical review panel shall consist of three health care providers and one attorney.
If the parties cannot agree on the attorney then:

1. The Clerk of the Supreme Court, upon notification of the State Medical Review Panel, shall draw names of five attorneys from the parish of venue and then notify the Commissioner of Administration of the names selected.
2. Within five days, the Commissioner shall notify the parties of the attorneys selected. The parties have five to select. If they cannot come to a mutual agreement within five days, a procedure is enacted whereby each party strikes a name alternatively until only one name remains. The remaining name is the attorney panel member. If either party fails to strike a name then the Clerk of the Supreme Court shall strike for that party within five additional days.

Duties of the attorney member of the panel

1. Act as chairman of the panel but cannot vote;
2. Expedite the selection of the other members of the panel;
3. Convene the panel;
4. Establish a reasonable schedule for submission of evidence to the medical review panel, but must allow the parties sufficient time to make full and adequate presentation of the facts and authorities within 90 days following selection of the panel.

Selection of the Physician Members of the Panel
Claimant shall notify the attorney chairman and defendants of his choice of a health care provider for the panel within 30 days of the date of the Commissioner's certification of his complaint.
Defendant has 15 days after notification by claimant to select his health care provider. If either party fails to select a member, then the attorney chairman shall notify the party of such failure by certified mail. Upon receipt, the party has five days to make a selection. If the errant party fails to select, then the attorney chairman shall make a selection for them.
The two health care providers selected by the parties shall select the third panel member. If the panel members fail to select within 15 days, then the attorney chairman shall make the selection.
All physicians who hold a license to practice medicine in the State of Louisiana and who are engaged in the active practice of medicine in this state, whether in the teaching profession or otherwise, shall be available for selection.

Once the Medical Review Panel is Formed

Within five days, the attorney chairman shall notify the parties of the names of the members of the Medical Review Panel by registered or certified mail.

Evidence and Discovery

1. Evidence to be considered by the medical review panel shall be submitted promptly in written form only.
2. Depositions of the parties may be taken prior to the convening of the Medical Review Panel.

Evidence can consist of:

1. Medical charts, x-rays, excerpts from treatises, depositions of witnesses including the parties, affidavits and reports of medical experts and any other form of evidence allowable by the medical review panel.
2. A copy of all evidence shall be sent to each member of the Medical Review Panel.
3. The panel has the ability to request and procure all necessary information.
4. The panel may consult with medical authorities. (However, if they consult with such authorities, the parties must be given the names and offered the opportunity to depose the panel's medical authority. Both parties shall have full access to any material submitted to panel.)

Ability of Parties to Convene the Medical Review Panel
After the submission of all the evidence and upon 10 days notice to the other party, either party can call for the panel to convened at a time and place agreeable to the members of the panel. At this meeting, the parties may question the panel concerning any matters relevant to issues to be decided by the panel before the issuance of their report. The chairman of the panel shall preside at all meetings. Meetings shall be informal.

The Delays for Filing Suit After Request for Review of a Claim
The filing of a request for review of claims shall suspend the time in which suit must be instituted. Thus the plaintiff has 90 days following notification by certified mail to the claimant or his attorney of the issuance of the opinion by the Medical Review Panel to file suit. When the complaint has been brought against an unqualified health care provider, the claimant has only 60 days after notification by certified mail to file suit.

The Medical Review Panel Decision

Within 30 days, but in all events with 180 days after the selection of the last panel member, the panel shall issue its expert opinion
Within five days after the Medical Review Panel renders its opinion, the chairman shall mail a copy via registered or certified mail to the Commissioner of Administration, all parties and the party attorneys.


Failure to Render an Opinion in Accordance with the Statutory Requirements
The suspension of the running of prescription shall cease 60 days after the claimant or his attorney receives notice by registered or certified mail of the final order dissolving the panel.
If the Medical Review Panel renders an opinion after the 180 day, then the suspension of prescription shall not cease until 90 days following notification to the claimant or his attorney of the issuance of the panel's decision.

Costs
The costs of the Medical Review Panel shall be paid in the following manner:

1. The Division of Administration shall pay if the opinion of the panel is in favor of the defendant, state or person covered by this part.
2. The claimant shall pay if the opinion of the panel is in favor of the claimant.
3. The costs of the panel shall be spilt between the claimant and the Division of Administration if the panel finds that there is material issue of fact bearing on liability for consideration by the court.

8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday

We are unable to give qualifications over the telephone for state qualified health care providers. All inquiries must be in writing. If you have questions involving private health care providers, contact the Patient's Compensation Fund at 225.342.5200 or 866.469.9555

All requests for a medical review panel shall be in writing. However, a request for review of a malpractice claim or complaint shall, at a minimum, shall contain all of the following:

1. A request for the formation of a medical review panel.
2. The name of the patient.
3. The names of the claimants.
4. The names of defendant state health care providers.
5. The dates of the alleged malpractice.
6. A brief description of the alleged malpractice as to each named defendant state health care provider.
7. A brief description of alleged injuries.

The Commissioner of Administration's fax number is 225.342.1057

According to LA R.S. 40:1299.39.1.A.(1)(c), a claimant shall have forty-five days from the date of the mailing of the confirmation of receipt of the request for review to pay to the Commissioner a filing fee in the amount of one hundred dollars per named defendant state health care provider.

The filing fee may be waived upon receipt by the Division of Administration of one of the following:

1. An affidavit of a physician holding a valid and unrestricted license to practice his specialty in the state of his residence, certifying that adequate medical records have been obtained and reviewed and the allegations of malpractice against each defendant state health care provider named in the claim constitute a claim of a breach of the applicable standard of care as to each named defendant state health care provider.
2. An in forma pauperis ruling issued by a district court in the venue in which the malpractice claim could properly be brought.

The filing fee need not be paid when filing, however, forty-five days from the date of the acknowledgement letter by the Commissioner the claim shall be closed if not paid.

As this office is unable to give legal advice, we cannot address this question.

There is no form. The request may be made in letter or petition form.

No specific heading is required.

All requests for a Medical Review Panel that are faxed must be sent to the Commissioner of Administration at 225.342.1057. Any other fax number is incorrect.

A request for a certificates must be in writing and submitted after the request for formation of a Medical Review Panel.

The hours of operation for the Commissioner are 8:00 a.m.-5:00pm. To reach the Medical Review Panel, you may call from 8:00 a.m. -4:30pm.

The location of where the incident occurred, as well as the date of the alleged incident, is important in determining if the health care provider is public or private.