Promoting a Medical Malpractice Early Settlement Model
Expanding Health Care Coverage
November 19, 2009
WebsiteSEE GRANT OUTCOMES
The existing medical liability litigation system increases the cost of providing effective, quality health care in New York State and the nation. An innovative, but lesser-known, model for addressing medical malpractice litigation has been developed by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC).
Through the program, Active Case Conferencing, a judge is assigned to monitor HHC cases and sets aside one day a month for a conference that includes the plaintiff lawyers and HHC counsel. As a result, claims are settled much faster than in the traditional litigation system and at lower costs. To increase awareness and usage of the model, NYHealth awarded the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) Foundation a grant to convene a full-day conference, “Strategies for Early Resolution of Medical Malpractice Claims: Active Case Conferencing,” to educate and train its members and other large hospital systems in New York on the Active Case Conferencing model.
The HHC Court Assisted Mediation program dedicates one judge to hold conferences on HHC medical liability claims in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. This judge specializes in medical malpractice cases and has medical expertise from his continuous dealings with these cases, making him more informed and able to adjudicate claims quickly. The model is producing impressive results. Of the approximately 325 medical malpractice claims that HHC receives each year, approximately 99% of those that go through this process are settled this way. For HHC, claims are settled much faster than they are in the traditional litigation system and at a lower cost than what a jury would likely award, although parties can go to trial if they wish. Total payouts, including legal expenses for both sides, are reduced in comparison to the traditional system.