Home > Property & Casualty > Disclose, apologize and offer: Massachusetts hospitals launch new initiative

Disclose, apologize and offer: Massachusetts hospitals launch new initiative

The cost of defensive medicine has been widely believed to be among the top contributors towards soaring health care costs. This week, three major hospitals in the Boston area announced a new program called “Disclosure, Apology and Offer.” The program targets defensive medicine which has been defined to include often unnecessary or excessive medical tests and procedures ordered by doctors who are wary of litigious patients.

The program was announced Tuesday by the Massachusetts Medical Society, is intended to promote a less confrontational dynamic between patients and medical professionals when medical mistakes occur and help haste the speed of disputes.

The initiative will be piloted by Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, as well as Baystate Medical Center in Springfield MA. In addition, several smaller hospitals which are affiliated with Beth Israel and Baystate will also participate.

The program requires the hospitals to quickly disclose to patients and their families any unanticipated, negative outcomes of medical care and promptly investigate the issue. If the hospital determines that it was at fault, it will offer an apology as well as an offer of financial compensation.

Patients will be offered the opportunity to seek legal counsel during their consideration of any offer. If the patient accepts the financial offer they would waive their right to future litigation.

In the event that the hospital determines that there were no errors made, and that the medical outcome was unavoidable due to certain factors such as inherent risk or pre-existing medical conditions, the hospital would not be under any obligation to apologize or to make a financial offer.

About the Author

Ann Mizner McKay is the General Counsel and Senior Vice President at WGA. She manages the legal affairs of the company and also manages the Claims Department.
617.646. 0238   AMiznermckay@wgains.com    Connect with Ann on LinkedIn


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