In the Louisiana Legislature’s Regular Session 2006, Act 323 changed La.R.S. 40:1299.47 to add Subsection N [full cite- 40:1299.47(N)] to allow for an expedited medical review panel process. The following discussion highlights some interesting changes, but for all elements of the new law as to the expedited medical review panel process, see the entire statute:

First, all parties must agree to the expedited panel process in writing sixty days from the date of the letter of notification of the selection of the attorney chairman. When a written request for an expedited medical review panel process has been made to the attorney chairman, the chairman shall establish a schedule for submission of evidence to the medical review panel within ninety days following selection of the third physician member of the panel so that a panel opinion is rendered within twelve months of the date of notification of the selection of the attorney chairman. No party may petition a court for an order extending the twelve month period. If an opinion is not rendered by the panel within the twelve month period established in this Subsection, a lawsuit may be instituted against the health care provider. The evidence to be considered by the medical review panel shall be promptly submitted by the respective parties in written form only, according to the schedule established by the chairman.

The evidence may consist only of medical charts, x-rays or other film studies, lab tests, other diagnostic or medical tests, and a position paper submitted by or on behalf of each party. Neither interrogatories to nor depositions of the parties and witnesses may be taken prior to the convening of the panel under Subsection N. The panel deliberation and the questioning of the panel shall not be recorded.

The report of the expert opinion reached by the expedited medical review panel process under this Subsection shall not be admissible as evidence in any action subsequently brought by the claimant in a court of law. Neither party shall have the right to call any member of the medical review panel as a witness. A panelist shall have absolute immunity from civil liability for all communications, findings, opinions and conclusions made in the course and scope of duties prescribed by this Subsection.