White House announces patient safety/medical liability grants

The White House yesterday announced a $25-million demonstration program to help states and health systems test new models for patient safety and medical liability.

According to the White House Press Release, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will launch a new demonstration initiative that will help states and health care systems to test models that meet the following goals:

  • Put patient safety first and work to reduce preventable injuries;
  • Foster better communication between doctors and their patients;
  • Ensure that patients are compensated in a fair and timely manner for medical injuries, while also reducing the incidence of frivolous lawsuits; and
  • Reduce liability premiums.

This competitive three-pronged initiative will support the following:

  • Grants to jump-start and evaluate efforts. Grants for up to three years for up to $3 million each will be given on a competitive basis to states and health systems for implementation and evaluation of evidence-based patient safety and medical liability demonstrations.
  • Planning grants. States and health systems that want to plan to implement and evaluate evidence-based patient safety and medical liability demonstrations will be eligible for competitive one-year grants for up to $300,000. In addition, applicants will be eligible for technical assistance.
  • Review of what works. A rapid and comprehensive review of initiatives that improve health care quality and patient safety and decrease medical liability will be conducted and reported in December 2009. This review will guide the initiative, provide information to applicants and help evaluate grant submissions.

 (SOURCES: AHA News Now, http://ahanews.com, September 18, 2009; The White House, http://whitehouse.gov, accessed September 21, 2009)