International Approaches to Medical Compensation

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<p>Not many people would argue that the costly and arduous medical liability system in the U.S. works well for either patients or health care providers. The question is: how do we go about fixing it? </p>
<p>In the new Commonwealth Fund issue brief, <a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2011/jul/administrative-compensation-medical-injuries-lessons-three">Administrative Compensation for Medical Injuries: Lessons from Three Foreign Systems</a>, Michelle M. Mello and colleagues examine how New Zealand, Sweden, and Denmark have replaced litigation with "no fault" systems that enable patients who have experienced an avoidable medical injury to file claims for compensation without hiring an attorney. In these countries, a governmental or private adjudicating organization uses neutral medical experts to evaluate claims of injury, and patients are not required to prove that health care providers were negligent in order to receive compensation. </p>
<p>The systems have successfully limited liability costs while improving injured patients' access to compensation, the authors say. </p>
<p>Replacing the negligence standard with a "more liberal, less stigmatizing compensation standard such as avoidability," the authors write, helps injured patients receive compensation while also preserving physician–patient relationships and encouraging transparency about adverse events. In addition, information from claims is used to analyze opportunities for improving patient safety.</p>
<p>Read more <a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2011/jul/administrative-compensation-medical-injuries-lessons-three">here</a>, and stay tuned for an upcoming Commonwealth Fund podcast about these alternative approaches featuring Michelle Mello, The Commonwealth Fund's Tony Shih, and former Harkness fellow Marie Bismark. <br /></p>