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Medical Malpractice

White House Announces Grants to Study Med-Mal Alternatives

Posted Sep 18, 2009 8:41 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The White House has announced $25 million in grants to test alternatives to medical malpractice lawsuits.

The accelerated grants of up to $3 million to states and health care systems will cover a variety of ideas, including programs in which physicians apologize for medical mistakes and offer restitution, the Associated Press reports. The Health and Human Services Department will determine which programs deserve money based on a review of what is working, according to the story.

The Washington Post characterizes the announcement as a move to ease the pain suffered by physicians who learned Wednesday that the latest health care bill offers nothing substantive to cut malpractice costs. The newspaper says the plan by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., “sidestepped the malpractice issue at the behest of Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid, D-Nev., a lawyer who received $1 million in campaign contributions in the first half of 2009 from lawyers and law firms.”

A Reid spokesman countered that the Democratic leader simply reminded Baucus that his committee doesn’t have jurisdiction over malpractice issues.

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