Designing a Reliable System of Medical Justice

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Principal Investigator:
Michelle Mello, Professor of Law and Public Health

Department of Health Policy and Management

Dates of Research:
December 1, 2004 — November 30, 2008


As the heated debate over medical malpractice continues in the United States, one of the few points on which virtually all involved appear able to agree is that the current system for compensating medical injury does not work as it should. Creative solutions are needed. Fortuitously, the broad outlines of a number of innovative and promising alternatives exist. The alternative that has received the most attention is the reorientation of compensation away from the concept of negligence. This project proposes to fill the information gap and stimulate interest in proceeding with demonstration projects focused on an “”administrative health court””. The project consists of 6 components: a) system design; b) development of compensation criteria; c) estimation of system costs; d) scheduling of noneconomic damages; e) analysis of constitutionality; and f) obtaining stakeholder input. The goal of the project is to lay the foundations for and stimulate interest in experimentation with administrative health courts. The project will produce a series of scholarly papers that directly address what are currently perceived to be the “”Achilles heels”” of the administrative health court model. It will also develop template legislation and “”policymaker’s guides”” to system architecture to facilitate the implementation of demonstration projects.