Massachusetts hospitals seek to reduce malpractice claims
04/18/2012 // West Palm Beach, Florida, US // justicenews // Justice News Flash
Boston – As reported by The Associated Press (AP), in an effort to reduce claims of medical malpractice in the state, three area hospitals are introducing a new program designed to provide patients impacted by potential medical errors a means for settling a dispute out of court. The Disclosure, Apology and Offer program may help reduce high costs associated with defensive medicine, which refers to the delivery of unnecessary medical related procedures in an effort to ward off potential malpractice lawsuits by some patients.
As noted by the AP, the program would facilitate the timely disclosure of unexpected problems linked to the delivery of medical care and a subsequent investigation into patient cases. If a medical care facility deems that it was liable for such an occurrence, an apology would be issued, and an offer for financially compensating the patient would be made. If an offer is accepted, patients would wave their right to bring forth a claim in court; however, they would reserve the right to choose not to settle a dispute in this manner.
The program is modeled after one previously introduced by the University of Michigan Health Care System, which has reportedly been successful at reducing expenses related to malpractice claims.
Dr. Alan Woodward, chair of the Massachusetts Medical Society’s Committee on Professional Liability, is quoted in the report as stating of the approach, “The point is, if you really want to deal with health care costs, you have to stop driving defensive medicine, which is based on the fear of being engaged in the current liability system.”
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