Archives: May 2016

May 2016 Newsletter

Encouraging Candor between Physicians, Patients Thanks to a multi-million dollar liability reform grant initiative, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has announced the availability of an online toolkit to assist physicians and healthcare providers with resources to facilitate open communications with patients and that could reduce the number of liability claims. The toolkit expands upon the Communication and Optimal Resolution (CANDOR) process that the Agency encourages when adverse or unintended outcomes occur following a medical procedure. The process followed a $23 million Patient Safety and Medical Liability grant initiative made with the goal of reducing medical liability. The CANDOR process was tested and applied in 14 hospitals across three health systems, which plan to expand its use: Christiana Care in Delaware, Dignity Health in California, and MedStar Health in Baltimore/Washington, D.C. Writing on the Agency for Healthcare Research’s blog, Director Andy Bindman, MD, explains the benefits of CANDOR and the toolkit to patients and physicians. While maintaining the ability to pursue claims through the legal system, “it fosters open discussion with patients and families to resolve matters in a timely and appropriate manner.” As important as these incremental reforms are, they elevate the need for a comprehensive federal solution,…

Read More

Legal reform would benefit business in New York

E.J. McMahon’s recent column in the Poughkeepsie Journal champions reform of New York’s Scaffold Law, possibly the most litigation-friendly statute in the nation (“N.Y. leaders have means to improve business climate,” May 16). His attention to the law highlights how New York’s dysfunctional civil justice system creates an enormous economic burden for the state’s small businesses, medical professionals, municipalities and nonprofits. The Scaffold Law has been pointed to as a hindrance to everything from school construction to Habitat for Humanity’s efforts following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. Legal reforms — like updating the antiquated Scaffold Law — translate to mandate relief for all aspects of our economy. Doctors, patients and public institutions are directly impacted by New York’s litigation friendly medical policies. A recent study showed that, in 2015, New York had the highest per capita medical liability payouts in the nation, a figure higher than the payouts of the entire Midwest. This could be partially remedied by aligning New York’s standards for expert testimony with those used in other states; a simple fix that would prevent “junk science” from entering our courtrooms. Businesses and municipalities are similarly burdened by New York’s lack of “fair share liability.” Under current law,…

Read More

AHRQ Toolkit Helps Health Care Organizations and Providers Communicate With Patients and Families When Harm Occurs

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) today released a new online toolkit to help hospital and health system leaders and clinicians communicate accurately and openly with patients and their families when something goes wrong with their care. The toolkit will help expand use of an AHRQ-developed communication and resolution process called Communication and Optimal Resolution, or CANDOR, which gives hospitals and health systems the tools to respond immediately when a patient is harmed and to promote candid, empathetic communication and timely resolution for patients and caregivers. Despite the best efforts of hospitals, doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, about 1 in 10 patients are harmed by the care they receive. Effective communication following harm can be challenging, leaving patients and families to wonder what happened and possibly seek legal action to find answers. The toolkit, which includes facilitator notes, slides, and online videos, enables health care organizations to make care safer by implementing the CANDOR process to encourage proactive, open communication with patients and their families when harm occurs. “Medical harm can impact patients twice — first by the harm itself, and then by the wall of silence that can follow,” said AHRQ Director Andy Bindman, M.D….

Read More