Traditional tort reform, aimed at liability cost control and revealed through research to be largely ineffective, has lost momentum. But new models of response to medical injuries which focus on improving delivery of safe and efficient patient care hold promise.
Reform of the medical liability system continues to be a priority, according to this report, but both the “locus and the focus” of efforts have changed since the malpractice crisis of the early 2000s. While old efforts aimed to reduce liability costs through changes to state tort laws, new efforts—driven by national health care reform and the belief that medical liability reform can “bend the health care cost curve”— focus on both liability cost control and patient safety improvements, and are being led by health care institutions, state agencies and insurers. The authors recap their findings from a recent review of literature on the eight most widely-adopted state tort reforms. They also describe new emerging approaches to reform.
The authors are hopeful new directions in liability reform that use private innovation and nontraditional public policy tactics will “foster,” rather than “obstruct,” safe and high quality health care.