HHS Announces Grants Designed To Curb Costs of Medical Malpractice
Following through on a promise President Obama made to curb medical malpractice costs, HHS on Friday announced nearly $25 million in grants that will fund one- to three-year demonstration projects focusing on alternative dispute resolution programs, developing guidelines and medical error disclosure, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Last September, Obama in his joint address to Congress directed HHS to reduce malpractice costs separately from the new health reform law (Adamy, Wall Street Journal, 6/11).
The grants were awarded to local government agencies and medical providers in 16 states (Aizenman, Washington Post, 6/11). Seven of the grants will fund three-year demonstration projects.
In one such three-year project, the New York State Unified Court System will receive $3 million to test an alternative dispute resolution system for obstetric and surgery patients. Other projects will encourage early disclosure of medical errors in hopes of averting lawsuits, the Journal reports (Wall Street Journal, 6/11).
Thirteen additional grants will support one-year "planning" initiatives, the Post reports. For example, a project in Oregon will seek to develop legislation that limits liability for providers who show they followed care guidelines (Washington Post, 6/11).
Other initiatives will focus on reducing patient suicides and defining legal standards of care (Wall Street Journal, 6/11).The new reform law also includes an additional $50 million in grants for states to investigate tort reform proposals (Hobson, "Health Blog," Wall Street Journal, 6/11). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.