Regis J. Fallon Lecture Series

May 2, 2013: "Medical Liability Reform and Accountability for Safe Care: Looking Back, Looking Forward"

On Thursday, May 2, 2013, Michelle Mello, JD, PhD, Professor of Law and Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health, spoke on "Medical Liability Reform and Accountability for Safe Care: Looking Back, Looking Forward."

There is wide agreement that the medical malpractice system is dysfunctional, but political interest groups continue to clash about how to reform it.  Even as battles over traditional reforms like damages caps persist, scholars and a handful of forward-thinking hospitals and liability insurers have moved forward with research and experimentation with innovative new approaches.  This lecture explored the case for a new direction in medical liability reform and highlight strategies that put patients first while enabling healthcare providers to avoid protracted, expensive legal battles.  Approaches such as disclosure-and-resolution programs, judge-directed negotiation programs, and “safe harbors” for complying with practice guidelines, alongside stronger professional regulation of provider quality, can help shift the debate towards a new paradigm of accountability for safe care.