It just makes sense for hospitals and doctors to try to resolve problems with patients before lawyers get involved, and it looks like they are starting to do it.
Look at what happened to claims at the University of Michigan Hospital when such a program was adopted: "In August 2001, there were 262 total claims, ranging from presuit notices to active litigation; in August 2002, there were 220 total claims; 193 claims in August 2003; 155 claims in August 2004; 114 claims in August 2005; and since that time, the total number of claims has fallen to fewer than 100…." This occurred despite an increase in clinical activity.
During the last session of the Legislature a bill was introduced that would have facilitated this kind of activity before suit. Tragically, some health care lobbyists wanted (surprise!) to get special protection (read:damage caps) for attempting to settle cases early. The bill died, and will continue to be contested to the extent that any provider wants special treatment for doing the right thing.
The bottom line is that is that if you do the right thing you are doing the right thing. It will save you legal fees, it will almost certainly reduce your indemnity payment, it will make your patient happy – and you are doing the right thing.
Isn’t that enough?