Some form of apology law has been passed in many states, including Oregon. The idea is to allow doctors and others speaking for medical personnel to apologize and/or discuss settlement negotiations without being held accountable to any such statements in court. These laws are intended to reduce the number of medical malpractice suits by either having patients be reluctant to make claims or by settling claims more informally without a determination of medical malpractice.
Such laws have now been around long enough that studies are being published regarding their effectiveness. A recent university study concluded that the apology-type laws enacted in 32 of the states increased the number of medical malpractice suits against non-surgeons. Otherwise, the suits in general have not reduced the number of suits or reduced the amount of the settlements paid out.