Obama's plan for tort reform may include 'apology legislation'

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Guest Columns: A case against nursing homes
Guest Columns: A case against nursing homes
President Obama this week publicly ruled out capping malpractice lawsuit awards as an approach to medical liability reform. His track record on the issue indicates he may be more open to ideas such as "apology legislation," or focusing on the reduction of preventable medical errors, according to one news outlet.

As a senator, Barack Obama co-authored an article on liability reform with future rival Hillary Clinton that was published in the May 2006 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the Web site politico.com reported. The two senators discussed the need to reduce the number of preventable medical errors, which they said could in turn reduce the number of costly medical lawsuits. Another program Obama seemed to favor during his time in the Senate is the Sorry Works program, the news outlet said. Under such programs, healthcare workers who make medical mistake can apologize and work with the patient to avoid a lawsuit.

The American Health Care Association, the largest long-term care association, favors capping noneconomic damages in medical lawsuits. Pennsylvania recently has considered so-called "apology legislation" that would not allow apologies for medical errors to be used against healthcare professionals in malpractice suits.
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