Archive for March, 2013

Looking Forward – March 2013

In his latest column, Dr. Hoyt describes Memorial Hermann Health System’s six-year journey to becoming a high-reliability organization. “The outcome of this transformational process is remarkable,” notes Dr. Hoyt, “and the entire story is well worth sharing.”

New approaches to liability reform: An introduction

The following articles in this special edition of the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons are drawn from the discussions that occurred at the 2012 Medical Liability Reform Summit, which took place October 19, 2012 at the ACS Washington Office. Speakers offered proposed solutions to the problems inherent in the current medical liability system. The College’s leadership anticipates that the symposium and publication of these articles will stimulate further exploration and discussion of this important issue.

AHRQ program promotes patient safety and liability reform

This article summarizes the purposes and ongoing results of the Agency for Healthcare
Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Medical Liability Reform and Patient Safety Initiative. The $25 million initiative provides grants to health care organizations that have agreed to develop systems that promote patient safety and medical liability reform. Examples of how institutions are using the grants are provided.

Medical mediation: Bringing everyone to the table

This article focuses on the form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that has been applied most widely in medical liability lawsuits—mediation. Two models of mediation are presented. Potential roadblocks to implementing ADR also are discussed.

The University of Michigan’s Early Disclosure and Offer Program

This article looks at the early disclosure and offer program at the University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, which has shown promising results since its implementation 10 years ago. The program has served to increase accountability, improve the physician-patient relationship, reduce costly litigation, and improve patient safety.

New York State shows benefits of CRP demonstration project

New York State has responded to the challenges of achieving medial liability reform in part through an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)-funded Patient Safety and Medical Liability Reform Demonstration Project. This article describes the processes and systems created to meet its objectives.

Health courts may be best cure for what ails the liability system

The authors assert that health courts are the best solution to the failures of the current liability system. These special courts may improve reliability and consistency in rulings, Reduce costs associated with defensive medicine, provide fair and efficient compensation for injured patients, enhance patient safety, and boost physician accountability.

Health courts will not cure all liability ills

The authors maintain that health courts are an inadequate solution to the problems associated with professional liability. These courts may reduce the rights of injured patients and create a new, costly, unnecessary administrative system. They also are likely to stimulate improvements in the safety or quality of health care delivery.

New directions in liability reform

The current medical liability system has multiple shortcomings, which are summarized in this article. The authors describe the pros and cons of several alternatives for reforming the liability system, including safe harbors, early disclosure and offer programs, judge-directed negotiation programs, and health courts.

Safe harbors: Liability reform for patients and physicians

This article highlights the purpose and functions of safe harbors, as well the pros and cons of developing and implementing safe harbors in liability lawsuits. The results of demonstration projects centered on the use of clinical guidelines as safe harbors also are described.

Alternatives to litigation are available: The liability insurer’s perspective

This article demonstrates how one insurance carrier, CRICO, has embraced and achieved the twin goals of protecting health care providers and promoting patient safety. CRICO is the largest medical liability insurer in Massachusetts.

More emphasis on safety needed: The patient advocate’s perspective

The Connecticut Center for Patient Safety (CTCPS), a not-for-profit patient advocacy group, was established in response to the medical mistakes and preventable harms that patients and health care consumers all too regularly endure. This article highlights the CTCPS’ mission, which is to promote patient safety, improve the quality of health care, and protect the rights of patients through public media, patient education, and legislative action.

Attorneys and physicians share common goals: The medical liability lawyer’s perspective

The common goals of physicians and attorneys who represent plaintiffs in medical liability lawsuits are described in this article as are examples of injured patients who have benefited from legal professions available in current tort law.

Centennial reprint: Graduate training for general surgery and the surgical specialties

To help commemorate the American College of Surgeons’ (ACS) 100th anniversary, the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons is reprinting articles centered on the issues and developments that have defined the character and integrity of the organization throughout its history. This month, the Bulletin is reprinting an article from the January 1939 issue titled Graduate Training for General Surgery and the Surgical Subspecialites.

Statement on firearm injuries

The following statement was developed by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma and approved by the College’s Board of Regents.

The benefits of attending an ACS Coding Workshop

An overview of ACS coding workshops, including benefits of attendances, topics covered, and registration information is provided in this month’s column.

Codman headshot

Joint Commission accreditation reaches 20,000 mark

The Joint Commission recently achieved a significant milestone—the accreditation or certification of 20,000 health care organizations. This month’s column offers a summary of the organization’s accreditation history.

The “fiscal cliff”

The effect of an economic downturn on the suicide rate is examined in this month’s column, including data regarding the occurrence of self-inflicted injuries in the National Trauma Data Bank® research dataset for 2011.

ACS Clinical Scholars-in-Residence program offers unique research and educational opportunity

The ACS is accepting applications for the 2014–2016 Clinical Scholars-in-Residence positions through March 15, 2013. Details, including past successes and application information are provided in the article.

Deadline to claim CME credit for 2012 Clinical Congress

Attendees at the 2012 Clinical Congress have until March 31, 2013, to claim their continuing medical education credits.


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