HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Sunday, February 13, 2005

JCAHO Backs Tort Reform

On Thursday, the Joint Commission issued its report on recommended reforms to increase patient safety, "Health Care At The Crossroads: Strategies for Improving the Medical Liability System and Preventing Patient Injury."  In addition to a grab-bag of operational reforms, the report recommends tort-reform measures, as well:

Advocate for court-appointed, independent expert witnesses to mitigate bias in expert witness testimony.

  • Conduct demonstration projects of alternatives to the medical liability system that promote patient safety and transparency, and provide swift compensation to injured patients
  • Encourage continued development of mediation and early-offer initiatives
  • Prohibit confidential settlements – so-called “gag clauses” – that prevent learning from events that lead to litigation
  • Redesign or replace the National Practitioner Data Bank

Partly because of the prominence of JCAHO in the health-care world, and partly because of the members of the Roundtable that produced these recommendations, this report is going to get serious attention, at precisely the same time President Bush has made tort reform on of his top legislative priorities.  Members included:


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