New York City Judge Teams Up With Hospitals to Lower Malpractice Costs

A New York state judge's use of "judge-directed negotiations" is one of 20 demonstrations on innovative solutions for malpractice cases recently awarded for $23 million in HHS funds, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Judge Douglas McKeon's approach on medical liability cases has saved hospitals up to $50 million a year in conjunction with early disclosure of medical errors by the hospitals. Five private hospitals in Manhattan and the Bronx, including New York Presbyterian/Columbia, are involved in the demonstration, which is receiving almost $3 million from HHS.

Here's how one malpractice case was handled in Judge McKeon's system. An elderly man fell on the sidewalk and was paralyzed from the neck down, apparently because responding paramedics didn't realize the severity of the injury. Although the hospital system involved in the case offered a significant settlement, the patient's son, angry about the paramedics' actions, wanted to go to court. In judge-directed negotiations, however, the son came to terms with his anger and accepted the settlement.

An HHS release said the government's Patient Safety and Medical Liability initiative is funding malpractice demonstration or planning grants at the following institutions, with grant amount listed for each:

Ascension Health System, St. Louis, $2,990,612

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, $273,782

Carilion Medical Center, Roanoke, Va., $280,924

Fairview Health Services, Minneapolis, $2,982,690

Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami, $299,576

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, $293,225

Massachusetts State Department of Public Health, Boston, $2,912,566
Multicare Health System, Tacoma, Wash., $291,810

New York State Unified Court System, New York City, $2,999,787

North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services, Raleigh, N.C., $297,710
Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, $187,437

Office for Oregon Health Policy and Research, Portland, Ore., $299,458

Sanford Research, Sioux Falls, SD, $294,137

University of Illinois at Chicago, $2,998,083

University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, $1,796,575

University of Utah, Salt Lake City, $299,999

University of Washington, Seattle, two grants, $2,972,209
and $295,837

Washington State University, Pullman, Wash., $298,810

Wishard Health Services, Indianapolis, $154,124

Read the Associated Press report on malpractice cases.

Read the HHS release on malpractice cases.

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