Designing a reliable system of medical justice

Across both sides of the political aisle, people acknowledge that our system to resolve medical liability claims is fundamentally broken. It's too slow, is wildly inconsistent, diverts too much money to legal fees, and too often buries information about the cause of medical injury rather than bringing it to light. Common Good, in partnership with the Harvard School of Public Health, advanced a liability reform alternative that would thoroughly disrupt today's system: specialized administrative health courts where judges and neutral experts with knowledge of health care issues would produce written rulings and judgments that would be fairer for patients and doctors alike. Based in part on this team's research and advocacy efforts establishing the validity of such a system, the health courts concept has gained a great deal of traction. Legislation to finance medical liability reform pilot projects has been introduced at the federal and state levels and was factored into health care reform negotiations. Yet challenges remain. "This is a high-risk proposition; there are entrenched interests determined to maintain the status quo," says Nancy Barrand, Pioneer team member and RWJF special adviser for program development. "But our current system is seriously flawed and the vision of the administrative health court would bring fairness to the process and lead to important steps to improve quality of care."

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $994,560.00

Awarded on: 2/1/2007

Time frame: 2/15/2007 - 9/14/2009

Grant Number: 58662


Common Good Institute Inc.

One Metrotech Center, Suite 1703
Brooklyn, 11201-3948


Paul Barringer
Project Director


Philip K. Howard
Project Director