New York Medical Malpractice Program Promotes Early Mediation
Medical malpractice cases can cost millions and millions of dollars, raising liability insurance costs for municipal hospitals and medical costs for patients in New York and throughout the nation. In an attempt to contain health care costs and liabilities a pilot program was launched in 2002 to more efficiently handle medical malpractice lawsuits through early mediation efforts.
The program was spearheaded by Bronx Supreme Court Judge Douglas McKeon, with the aid of the New York City Health and Hospital Corp. It allowed litigants and defendants to resolve their claims through mediation presided over by judges who were specially trained in malpractice litigation. Since hospitals frequently offer pretrial settlements in cases where negligence occurred, the court program aimed to expedite this process to help reduce costs associated with protracted trials and various appeals.
Known as the New York State Medical Malpractice Program, the initiative has proven successful in the state and, with new expansion efforts, may potentially save the country millions of dollars in health care costs.
Federal monies granted by the Obama administration permitted the expansion of the program throughout several New York courts in 2010, setting a good example for continued growth in other states.
NY medical malpractice program facilitates mediation
Bronx County’s Administrative Judge for Civil Matters, Douglas McKeon, will be replacing the now retired Hon. Ann Pfau as Coordinating Judge for the NY Medical Malpractice Program. Judge McKeon has extensive experience in the medical malpractice arena, and recently finished a year overseeing both civil and criminal courts in the Bronx.
“…Judge McKeon brings tremendous vision and leadership skills to this important post,” said Chief Administrative Judge A. Gail Prudenti in a statement.
According to Judge McKeon, this important court initiative, which allows parties to negotiate medical malpractice settlements in a controlled environment, has vastly improved patient care by making it safer. “We don’t only resolve cases sooner rather than later — the hospitals have implemented safety program to learn from it,” said McKeon.
Free case review with New York medical malpractice lawyers
While the program has inherent benefits for New Yorkers seeking restitution through medical malpractice lawsuits, statistics on hospital errors remains grim. Research conducted by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service shows that over 80 percent of hospital mistakes go unreported by staff – from misuse of medical equipment to wrong site surgeries. Errors like these often carry devastating consequences for the patient and his or her immediate family. The recent implementation of surgical safety checklists in some facilities may help reduce the chances of surgery errors and post-op complications, but studies on the efficacy of this method have yielded mixed results.
Medical malpractice litigation may, in certain cases, be the best source of financial recovery for victims of negligence or surgical mistakes. Compensation procured through special mediation efforts or a court award can help net damages for lost income, past and future medical expenses, emotional anguish and a reduced quality of life.
If you or someone you love was injured in a hospital setting and you suspect malpractice occurred, please contact The Sanders Firm for a no-charge case evaluation. For nearly five decades, our NY medical malpractice lawyers have been successfully advocating on behalf of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island residents. Call us at 1-800-FAIR-PLAY (324-7752). Resources
- Daily News, Bronx judge to head statewide court program that could cut healthcare costs, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/bronx-judge-oversee-medical-malpractice-court-program-article-1.1833287
- Healthcare Professional Insurance.com, New York State Excess Liability Program, http://healthcareprofessionalsinsurance.com/nys-excess-liability-program/