Liability Reform Discussed at President Obama’s Health Care Summit

By Holly Hayes

On Feb. 23, the American Medical Association and 76 other medical societies wrote a letter to President Barack Obama and congressional leaders asking them to adopt legislation to reduce unnecessary medical lawsuits. “‘Defensive medical procedures, prompted by the threat of litigation, add substantial costs for individuals, private and public payers,” the letter stated (read the letter here).

At President Obama’s health care summit on Feb. 25, Dr. Coburn, an obstetrician-gynecologist cited estimates by Thompson-Reuters, that the “U.S. health system wastes at least $600 billion a year because of poorly coordinated care, fraud, frivolous lawsuits and a lack of preventive care.”

Right after the summit, on March 3, President Obama outlined a revised version of his comprehensive health care reform proposal (read article by the American Medical News here) . The plan includes a section specifically on medical liability calling for expanding medical liability alternatives by adding $50 million to a $23 million state pilot project managed by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (see our post on this pilot project here ).

We welcome your comments on the continuing discussion of health care reform and
medical liability.

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Holly Hayes is a mediator at Karl Bayer, Dispute Resolution Expert where she focuses on mediation of health care disputes. Holly holds a B.A. from Southern Methodist Universityand a Masters in Health Administration from Duke University. She can be reached at:

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