Error policy linked to malpractice claims drop

September 10, 2010

Nearly a decade after implementing a policy of disclosure with offer of compensation for harmful medical errors, the UMHS has seen a reduced rate of claims against the system, lower liability costs, and shorter times to resolve claims.

Nearly a decade after implementing a policy of disclosure with offer of compensation for harmful medical errors, the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) has seen a reduced rate of claims against the system, lower liability costs, and shorter times to resolve claims.

Those were among the findings of a study which looked at the effects of UMHS' claims management model, published in the August 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Since the program began in July 2001, the average monthly rate of new claims against UMHS decreased from 7.03 to 4.52 per 100,000 patient encounters, while the average monthly rate of lawsuits went from 2.13 to 0.75 per 100,000 patient encounters.

The authors caution, however, that the study does not establish direct causality between the new policy and reduction in claims because malpractice claims declined throughout Michigan during part of the period covered by the study.

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