Sunday, May 28, 2006

MEDiC Bill

Sunday May 28, 2006
MEDiC bill

Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama have coauthored the proposed MEDiC bill. (National Medical Error Disclosure and Compensation Bill).

Main ideas of the bill:

1. This legislation would create an Office of Patient Safety and Health Care Quality within the Department of Health and Human Services. The director of this office will be responsible for establishing a National Patient Safety Database, conducting data analyses to inform policy and practice recommendations, establishing and administering the National Medical Error Disclosure and Compensation (MEDiC) program, and supporting studies related to MEDiC and the medical liability system.

2. The MEDiC program would provide federal grant support and technical assistance for doctors, hospitals, and health systems that disclose medical errors and problems with patient safety and offer fair compensation for injuries or harm. Participants would submit a safety plan and designate a patient-safety officer, to whom these disclosures and notices of related legal action would be reported.

3. If a patient was injured or harmed as a result of medical error or a failure to adhere to the standard of care, the participant would disclose the matter to the patient and offer to enter into negotiations for fair compensation. The terms of negotiation for compensation ensure confidentiality, protection for any disclosure made by a health care provider to the patient in the confines of the MEDiC program, and a patient's right to seek legal counsel; they also allow for the use of a neutral third-party mediator to facilitate the negotiation.

4. Any apology offered by a health care provider during negotiations shall be kept confidential and could not be used in any subsequent legal proceedings as an admission of guilt if those negotiations ended without mutually acceptable compensation.

Is it a fantasy land OR another bureaucratic hurdle ?. OR a real geniune workable idea as argued by senators by citing experiences and studies from University of Michigan Health System and Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky ?. Read by yourself the full article (available free by clicking link below) published by senators in The New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 354:2205-2208, Number 21. May 25, 2006

Making Patient Safety the Centerpiece of Medical Liability Reform