KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

States Have Initiated Tort Reform Experiments

President Barack Obama can look to a variety of models as he seeks to fulfill a pledge to fund state tort reform experiments, a longtime wish-list item for physicians, the New York Times reports. States have so far tried a few approaches, with mixed results, and considered more.

They include, a cap on non-economic damages supported by the American Medical Association; medical screening panels that "attempt to weed out frivolous suits;" "apology statutes" that ban physicians admission of error from being used as evidence in court; early compensation offers by physicians and hospitals that preclude law suits; safe harbor systems that protect doctors from law suits when they follow practice guidelines; birth funds that compensate families for childbirth injuries and are financed by physician surcharges; and, special medical courts that would approach malpractice cases with more specialized expertise (Underwood, 10/13).

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