Massachusetts Heading Toward Med Mal Reform?

Side Note: The state of Massachusetts is embarking on new health care reform. Governor Patrick recently introduced a bill that, if signed into law, would do a lot for med mal reform in the state. Already known for being progressive on health care issues, because of the state’s almost universal health care coverage, it comes as no surprise that Massachusetts is attempting to now reduce health care costs. The bill views medical liability reform as one piece of this puzzle.

The bill, entitled, “An Act Improving the Quality of Health Care and Controlling Costs by Reforming Health Systems and Payments,” has several medical malpractice reform elements worth noting. Together, these reforms can potentially lower medical malpractice insurance rates for Massachusetts physicians . First, while many physicians want to apologize for errors, they often do not out of fear of litigation and often are told not to do so. This is ironic, because often an apology can do the opposite –it can help prevent a lawsuit. Under Patrick’s new bill, apologies would not be considered admissible evidence in a med mal case. Second, the bill establishes a 180-day “cooling off period” before a medical malpractice lawsuit can be initiated. We at believe that this will do a lot to avoid potentially frivolous lawsuits. A cooling off period would allow individuals who may be angry or frustrated about treatment or care they have received to step back and think about the situation –not just charge off into a lawsuit because it feels good. These patients may realize that no harm may have actually been done. Third, it creates a process for patients and providers to communicate openly prior to litigation, should it be pursued, in the hopes that costly med mal litigation can be avoided and disputes can still be resolved.

If you are a Massachusetts physician and would like to reduce your medical malpractice insurance rates, complete our free, no-cost, no-obligation quote form today.

Massachusetts To Reform Health Care Payment And Delivery Systems
Source: Governor of Massachusetts Posted on: 17th February 2011

Governor Deval Patrick today announced comprehensive health care payment and delivery reform legislation designed to control rising health care costs and improve patient care.

The Governor’s proposal builds on the Patrick-Murray Administration’s bold leadership in achieving universal access to health care by confronting the next frontier – ensuring that health care is universally affordable.

Read the Full Article

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