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Health Court? Senate Ponders Bill S1337


The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is considering a bill, the Fair and Reliable Justice Act, that proposes a different model for medical malpractice dispute resolution. The model that is attracting the most attention is the special health court model, in which judges with health care expertise, rather than juries, would adjudicate medical malpractice claims. Critics claim that the current system isn't working for patients or providers. Expert witnesses would be paid by the court rather than attorneys for the parties involved, as under the current system. Decisions made by the health court would set new standards of care. If providers meet that standard of care, they would not be subject to financial penalties, regardless of patient outcome. Pain and suffering awards would be granted according to a schedule that would be apply to all patients. The goal of the system would be to make justice more reliable, as well as improve medical practice.

Common Good, a bipartisan group whose moniker is "Restoring Common Sense to America", is a nonpartisan coalition dedicated to restoring common sense to the law. Their site lists many groups like the AARP and the American Academy of Family Physicians, who back this bill for patient safety. Proponents of health courts claim that the current system has created incentives to hide errors. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that medical errors are one of the nations leading causes of death and injury. Almost 100,000 people die each year in US hospitals as the result of medical errors. That is more deaths than from AIDS, breast cancer, or motor vehicle accidents. Hospitals are bad for your health. The statistics prove it. To err is human. To not learn from our mistakes is diabolic.

Thank you hummana for use of Friday night in Sevilla photo.
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