Could Michigan Provide A New Model For Medical Malpractice Reform?

Published: Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 3:35pm
Updated: Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 3:40pm

Earlier this summer, Gov. Doug Ducey said he wanted Congress to adopt caps on what juries can award to victims of medical malpractice. He’d like that provision to be a part of any potential replacements or tweaks to the Affordable Care Act.

The governor says some of the high health care costs in Arizona are because of these kinds of awards, as well as high malpractice insurance premiums.

We have two perspectives on this today, starting with JoJene Mills. She’s an attorney in Tucson who’s represented patients in medical malpractice cases for more than 30 years in Arizona.

Proponents of what’s often called “tort reform” have asked Arizona voters three times to either repeal or change provisions in the state constitution that prohibit limiting damages; none of those has passed.

But Rick Boothman says there’s another way. He’s a former defense lawyer in medical malpractice cases and currently executive director of Patient Relations and Clinical Risk at the University of Michigan and Michigan Medicine.

There, they’ve adopted a model that acknowledges medicine is inherently risky, and that providers can do everything right and still have a bad outcome, meaning that outcome does not by itself speak to the quality of medical care.

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