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AHRQ Awards $23.2m In Grants For Medical Liability Reform And Patient Safety

From the Disputing Blog of Karl Bayer, Victoria VanBuren, and Holly Hayes.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) announced that seven demonstration grants for the Medical Liability Reform and Patient Safety initiative have been funded for a total amount of $19.7 million. Thirteen planning grants have also been funded for a total amount of $3.5 million. The grants support the implementation and evaluation of evidence-based patient safety and medical liability projects.

The seven demonstration grants include models that meet one or more of the medical liability reform and patient safety initiative goals, including: “Reducing preventable harms. Informing injured patients promptly, and making efforts to provide prompt compensation. Promoting early disclosures and settlement, through a court-directed alternative dispute resolution model.”

Examples of some of the demonstration grants include:

Timothy McDonald, M.D., J.D., University of Illinois at Chicago, IL, $2,998,083
The project is designed to fill the evidence gap regarding the impact on patient safety and litigation rates of programs that feature improved communication with patients, transparency, disclosure of adverse events, early offers of compensation, and learning from mistakes. It will evaluate the impact on Medical Liability Reform and Patient Safety outcomes of extending an existing disclosure program from an academic hospital setting to diverse hospitals in the greater Chicago area.

Stanley Davis, M.D., Fairview Health Services, Minneapolis, MN, $2,982,690
The objective of this project is to improve perinatal (the period prior to and just after birth) patient safety and demonstrate the relationship between improved patient safety and a reduction in the number of malpractice claims. The project will implement and evaluate the use of perinatal best practices in 16 hospitals to assess the impact on patient safety and the level of malpractice activity. This initiative builds on the institution’s prior efforts as part of a nationwide collaborative to eliminate preventable perinatal harm.

Eric Thomas, M.D., M.P.H., University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX, $1,796,575
The project will review the use of a disclosure and compensation model, which informs injured patients and families promptly and makes efforts to provide prompt compensation. It will identify best practices for using disclosure to improve patient safety, and disseminate best practices to serve patients’ needs and improve safety for subsequent patients. The project will investigate disclosure and compensation in the UT system over a three-year period, identify best practices for using disclosure to improve patient safety, and disseminate best practices with a focus on incorporating patient and family input into efforts to understand why errors occur.

Thomas Gallagher, M.D., University of Washington, Seattle, WA, $2,972,209
The project creates a statewide initiative involving communication training for health care workers and a collaboration between hospitals and a malpractice insurer to improve adverse event analysis, disclosure, and compensation. The goal is to enhance the culture of health care communication in order to improve patient safety and decrease medical malpractice liability.

Alice Bonner, M.S., APRN, BC, Massachusetts State Department of Public Health, Boston, MA, $2,912,566
The project proposes to engage clinicians, patients, malpractice insurers, and the State public health agency to ensure more timely resolution of medical errors that occur in outpatient practices and improve communication in all aspects of care. The project will identify key areas contributing to ambulatory medical errors and malpractice suits in order to redesign systems and care processes to prevent, minimize, and mitigate such errors in a group of Massachusetts primary care practices. The project will also transform communication culture, processes, and outcomes in these practices so that they are more patient and family-centered, particularly with respect to proactively seeking out, handling, and learning from patients’ safety experiences, concerns, and complaints.

The full list of demonstration grants is available here and the planning grants are here.

Let us hear your comments regarding these demonstration and planning grants.


Holly Hayes

Holly Hayes Bovio received a Masters in Health Administration (MHA) from Duke University and her undergraduate degree from Southern Methodist University. She holds a certificate in mediation from Texas State.  Holly brings a strong hospital operations background to healthcare mediations including a focus on clinical quality.  Holly managed her own consulting… MORE >

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