Massachusetts continues to pave the way for the rest of the nation in terms of breakthroughs in healthcare. Earlier this week Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill that includes legislation for an overhaul of the medical liability system, which according to advocates of the bill, will decrease the cost of defensive medicine.
The bill facilitates discussions of a Disclosure, Apology and Offer (DA&O) to address medical malpractice claims. According to Healthcare Finance News, health professionals believe the current tort system is inefficient, drives health costs higher and is overly burdensome to patients and physicians.
Dr. Alan Woodward, chair of the Massachusetts Medical Society's Committee on Professional Liability, said in a statement that the agreement will encourage transparency and honesty between providers while also protecting the rights of patients who have been harmed by avoidable events.
Experts estimate that the cost of defensive medicine will add 10 to 20 percent to the annual cost of healthcare nationwide. The new bill is looking to lower costs by creating a six-month, pre-litigation resolution period between providers and patients.
"Our primary focus is full disclosure to the patient, putting a system in place to prevent reoccurrence and, if necessary, compensating patients for their losses," Woodward said. "If you ask patients, this is what they want."
With legislation changing the healthcare industry on a constant basis, medical organizations would be well-advised to work with a healthcare consultant to ensure that patient safety and compliance of all laws and regulations are carefully adhered to.
These professionals will be able to provide medical facilities with proper medical litigation support. Partnering with healthcare consulting firms will train staff to abide by the law and also prepare them for any type of scenario that may come their way.