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Medical errors kill over 100,000 Americans each year. Hospitals, doctors and health care providers respond with a virtual call to arms demanding that legislatures restrict and eliminate their patients’ legal rights to compensation for injuries and death. They oppose efforts by patients and consumer groups to broaden patients’ rights and even oppose efforts to prevent them from getting the truth from internal records investigating malpractice. Worse, they participate with their insurance companies and big business in vilifying their patients who sue and their lawyers. Why? They say to hold down insurance premiums and jury verdicts on frivolous claims.
The University of Michigan Health System has found another way to deal with medical malpractice and medical errors: Admit their mistakes and pay for them early without hostile litigation with their patients. An August study revealed that the University Of Michigan Health System’s innovative approach of disclosure and compensation has reduced lawsuits and legal defense costs by 61%. Moreover, there is no proof that admitting mistakes opened the floodgates to a frenzy of medical malpractice lawsuits.
Maybe there are some lessons here. To read more about this “unorthodox” approach of health care providers admitting and paying for their mistakes, read the article in Newsweek.