GOP Lawmakers Question HHS' $23.2M Grants for Malpractice Reform

Three Republican lawmakers are pressing HHS to provide more information on its grant program designed to fund research on malpractice reform, arguing there is little to show for the funds.

In June 2010, HHS — through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality — awarded $23.2 million to fund demos and projects around malpractice reform. Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, saying "it appears none of the $23.2 million awarded has gone to researching or implementing 'traditional' malpractice reforms."

Medical malpractice reform is one issue that has garnered support on both sides of the aisle, but the GOP lawmakers are strong proponents for "traditional" malpractice reforms, which they say "reduce the incidence of frivolous lawsuits, inflated awards and inflated attorneys' fees." They say research funded by the AHRQ is "aimed at proving the obvious," such as when the number of adverse events decline, so does the number of malpractice suits.

The lawmakers say HHS ignored the vast majority of questions the lawmakers posed about the malpractice demos in their previous April letter. The lawmakers resent those questions to Ms. Sebelius, in addition to some new questions, such as: What is the exact source of the $23.2 million in funding? Did Congress expressly approve the demos and projects, as well as the funding for them? If not, what authority did?

More Articles on Healthcare and Malpractice Reform:

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Missouri Supreme Court Strikes Down Caps on Malpractice Awards

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