A few months ago I wrote about a new pilot program in effect in New York in which judges lead negotiation in medical liability cases as opposed to having them go through the traditional litigation process. Over 1,000 cases have gone through the program and so far the results have been positive.
Since implementation of the program medical liability payments and settlements have decreased, and the expenses spent in defending medical liability cases has declined. The average time cases are completed has declined from three years to nine months. Doctors that are found to have no responsibility in the cases are weeded out within the first six months of the program (in traditional liability cases these doctors cannot be removed from lawsuits until after the discovery process which can be more than a year after the case is filed).
It seems that this may be another solution to dealing with the medical liability crisis. I will be keeping a close eye on the progress of this program.
Gallegos, A., Cutting Costs From the Bench, American Medical News (November 7, 2011).