HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Illinois Legislature Passes "Sorry Works" Legislation

According to Medical News Today, llinois will become the first state to enact a Sorry Works! pilot program as a potential solution to some quality of care issues. The bi-partisan legislation was backed by The Sorry Works! Coalition, a national organization dedicated to educating doctors and hospitals about the value of apologies and upfront compensation in reducing lawsuits, liability costs, and medical errors.   The Medica News story states,

Under SB 475, the State of Illinois will establish a committee of medical, insurance, and legal experts to administer the Sorry Works! pilot program. The committee will determine if lawsuits and liability costs increase, remain the same, or are reduced with Sorry Works! The State of Illinois will cover the difference in costs between the new norm and the old norm if costs rise; however, if lawsuits and costs go down under Sorry Works, the hospitals will enjoy the savings and the State of Illinois won't incur any costs.

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Under Sorry Works, doctors and hospital staff conduct root cause analyses after every bad outcome, and if a medical error caused the bad outcome, the doctors and hospital staff members apologize, provide solutions to fix the problem, and offer upfront compensation to the patient, family and their attorney(s). This approach removes anger and actually reduces the chances of litigation and costly defense litigation bills. The program has worked successfully at hospitals such as the University of Michigan Hospital system, Stanford Medical Center, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, and the VA Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky.

Interesting concept.  To learn more about The Sorry Works! Coalition, visit  [bm]

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