Doctors-Lawyers Work at Malpractice Reform

Physicians and lawyers in Pennsylvania have joined forces in a pilot project aimed at preventing medical malpractice claims from getting to a courtroom. Members of the Montgomery County Bar Association and the county medical society have joined with

“I not only use all of the brains I have, but all I can borrow.”

—Woodrow Wilson

Physicians and lawyers in Pennsylvania have joined forces in a pilot project aimed at preventing malpractice claims from getting to a courtroom. Members of the Montgomery County Bar Association and the county medical society have joined with Abington Memorial Hospital in an attempt to use mediation to avoid malpractice litigation. The project grew out of a ruling by the state Supreme Court that urged local counties to seek alternatives to courtroom battles as Pennsylvania doctors headed for the exits because of soaring malpractice costs.

The stated purpose of the Montgomery County project is not to save money, but rather to give patients what they really want: early action, information, an apology, and assurance that any mistakes made won’t happen again. If efforts at mediation fail, patients still have the option of going to trial. The doctors and lawyers taking part in the program hope that won’t happen too often—in a similar program run by the Drexel University College of Medicine, just three cases of 40 that went to mediation were not resolved.

According to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, upwards of $30 billion is spend each year on “defensive medicine” practices.

82%Percentage of physicians who have never had a medical malpractice payment since the National Practitioners Data Bank was created in 1990. (Public Citizen)