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Another Way To Curb NY Medical Malpractice/Negligence Lawsuits: Saying You're Sorry

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Jonathan Cooper
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Yesterday, msnbc published a fascinating story on the University of Michigan Health System, which, unlike nearly every other health care facility in the Country, has seen the number of medical malpractice claims (and concurrently, the amounts paid out on claims) against it cut in half over the last several years. This is no fluke. Their secret? When they make a mistake, they own up to it and apologize. In the words of their general counsel, they are practicing "basic common decency." As a corollary to this approach, this particular health care system actively tries to make fair offers to resolve meritorious cases early on, rather than allowing the cases to wind their way through the court system for years, and in the process, incurring higher defense costs. Not surprisingly, this tactic tends to lessen the patients' anger, and less likely to sue. Given the obvious logic and fantastic success of this program, it is apparent that this approach should be made a central component of any tort reform package, don't you think?

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Jonathan Cooper
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