Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have an editorial (free full text) in the New England Journal of Medicine discussing their new National Medical Error Disclosure and Compensation (MEDiC) Bill.
Our proposed MEDiC program provides grant money and technical assistance to doctors, hospitals, insurers, and health care systems to implement programs for disclosure and compensation. The MEDiC model promotes the confidential disclosure to patients of medical errors in an effort to improve patient-safety systems. At the time of disclosure, compensation for the patient or family would be negotiated, and procedures would be implemented to prevent a recurrence of the problem that led to the patient's injury.
The bill contains protections for apologies by medical professionals and provisions for mediated settlement discussions upon disclosure of medical errors, while maintaining patients' right to counsel.
At first blush, it's an interesting proposal. I'll try to spend more time discussing it in coming days.
Update: Greedy Trial Lawyer is unimpressed, calling the provision of a confidential disclosure system a "bribe."
(See also my earlier post on medical error reduction as part of reforms.)