Commentary: Malpractice Reform in Policy Perspective

Enacted caps on malpractice awards and proposed early offer reform address the sometimes excessive verdicts of conventional liability and its very high overhead costs. However, such reforms greatly benefit medical defendants while doing too little for claimants or patients in general. Caps and early offer only affect current claims; far broader reforms are therefore needed to improve the woeful performance of liability as a general promoter of patient safety and injury compensation. Broad reforms, however desirable, seldom surmount high political and practical hurdles. A good, more evenhanded start would seek to make claims resolution faster, more accurate, more predictable, and less expensive, while separately promoting medical quality and safety as well as greater transparency for law, medicine, and insurance.

Author(s): Randall R. Bovbjerg

Keywords: compensation and redress; medical liability; malpractice; patient safety; torts; health care costs; liability insurance; public policy

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Volume 85, Issue 2 (pages 297–305)
DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0009.2007.00488.x
Published in 2007