New York State Health Foundation

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Greater New York Hospital Association Foundation

  • Project Title: Promoting a Medical Malpractice Early Settlement Model
  • Priority Area: Expanding Health Care Coverage
  • Grant Amount: $24,200
  • Date Awarded: November 19, 2009
  • Region: New York City
  • Website: http://www.gnyhafoundation.org
  • Grant Status: Complete

Overview

The existing system for medical liability litigation increases the cost of providing effective, quality health care in New York State and the nation. More than half of the dollars awarded to claimants are consumed by overhead costs, such as legal fees. An innovative, but little-known, model for addressing challenges with the existing medial malpractice litigation process has been developed by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC). The Greater New York Hospital Association Foundation convened a full-day conference to educate and train other large hospital systems in New York State on the HHC early settlement model.

The HHC Court Assisted Mediation program dedicates one judge to hold conferences on HHC medical liability claims in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. This judge specializes in medical malpractice cases and has medical expertise from his continuous dealings with these cases, making him more informed and able to adjudicate claims quickly. The model is producing impressive results. Of the approximately 325 medical malpractice claims that HHC receives each year, approximately 99% of those that go through this process are settled this way. For HHC, claims are settled much faster than they are in the traditional litigation system and at a lower cost than what a jury would likely award, although parties can go to trial if they wish. Total payouts, including legal expenses for both sides, are reduced in comparison to the traditional system.