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Missed Opportunities for Malpractice Reform

Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media, February 4, 2010

Last September, I wrote a column suggesting that a compromise on medical liability reform could be the path to a truly bipartisan healthcare reform package. I still believe it's true, but it will require a serious acknowledgment of the problem from Democrats. And from Republicans, it will take a willingness to look for solutions beyond damage caps, which are one of the most ineffective ways of reforming malpractice.

To really bring down medical liability premiums while ensuring patient safety and fair compensation for patients who genuinely deserve it, we need to be more innovative than our politics has recently allowed. We need special health courts; we need medical screening panels; we need apology statutes; and we need a combination of different reform approaches.

But first, we need to set aside politics and have an honest and productive discussion about the true nature of the problem and its solutions.


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Elyas Bakhtiari is a freelance editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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