Medical Injury Alternative to Malpractice Litigation Continues to Expand Across Mass.

Thcommunicatione Massachusetts Alliance for Communication and Resolution following Medical Injury, or MACRMI, continues to increase the numbers of patient cases and sites across Massachusetts and the nation. where health care providers and patients can cooperatively resolve medical injury situations.

MACRMI, formed in 2012, is an alliance of Massachusetts patient advocacy groups, teaching hospitals and their insurers, and health care providers.  Its mission is prompt recognition of – and response to – medical injury, along with appropriate compensation to the patient or family, with the goals of improving patient safety and reducing medical costs.

MACRMI, through its Communication, Apology, and Resolution, or CARe program, has so far handled more than 850 patient cases at eight sites around the state, said co-founder Alan Woodward, MD., MMS Past President and Chair of the MMS Committee on Professional Liability.  More than 75 percent of those CARe cases were resolved by the program and not referred to an insurer.

More than 150 health care leaders, physicians and insurers gathered at the organization’s third annual forum this week at Massachusetts Medical Society headquarters.  Much progress has been made in offering an alternative to the “deny and defend” culture that typically surrounds malpractice cases, said Melinda Van Niel, Health Care Quality Manager at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Several more medical providers are preparing to formally enter the program in the coming year, she said.

CARe focuses on communication between patient and doctor after an incident of medical harm. The program also investigates the issue thoroughly and determines if something can be done to prevent the error from happening again in the future.

Over the past year, MACRMI has updated and clarified its guidelines, worked with the National Patient Safety Foundation, and  have produced educational programs  to help guide providers, attorneys and patients through the CARe program.

Leaders said the organization hopes to expand awareness in Massachusetts and broaden its reach on a national level within the next few years.

“CARe is the first step in changing the culture of our institutions,” said Allen Kachalia, MD, Associate Chief Quality Officer, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Read more about MACRMI here.

— Katherine Schauer


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