Outcomes In Two Massachusetts Hospital Systems Give Reason For Optimism About Communication-And-Resolution Programs
Through communication-and-resolution programs, hospitals and liability insurers communicate with patients when adverse events occur; investigate and explain what happened; and, where appropriate, apologize and proactively offer compensation. Using data recorded by program staff members and from surveys of involved clinicians, we examined case outcomes of a program used by two academic medical centers and two of their community hospitals in Massachusetts in the period 2013-15. The hospitals demonstrated good adherence to the program protocol. Ninety-one percent of the program events did not meet compensation eligibility criteria, and those events that did were not costly to resolve (the median payment was $75,000). Only 5 percent of events led to malpractice claims or lawsuits. Clinicians were supportive of the program but desired better communication about it from staff members. Our findings suggest that communication-and-resolution programs will not lead to higher liability costs when hospitals adhere to their commitment to offer compensation proactively.
Mello MM, Kachalia A, Roche S, Niel MV, Buchsbaum L, Dodson S, Folcarelli P, Benjamin EM, Sands KE. Outcomes In Two Massachusetts Hospital Systems Give Reason For Optimism About Communication-And-Resolution Programs. Health Aff (Millwood). 2017 Oct 1;36(10):1795-1803.