Seventy prominent healthcare leaders asked Congress to consider "new systems of medical justice," saying that under the current medical malpractice system a "culture of legal fear" has supplanted honesty and candor. Organized by Common Good, a New York-based, cross-industry coalition that advocates legal-system reform, the executives signed a petition calling for congressional hearings on medical malpractice. Issues to be addressed would include: what constitutes appropriate medical care, who can sue for malpractice and under what circumstances suits can be filed. "The goal should not simply be to reduce malpractice insurance costs; the goal should be to provide better healthcare," said Herbert Pardes, president and CEO of 2,112-bed New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Joining Pardes in signing the petition were Institute for Healthcare Improvement President and CEO Don Berwick, who ranked No. 3 on Modern Healthcare 's 2002 list of the industry's most powerful people, after the heads of HHS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Aetna Chairman and CEO John Rowe; and former HHS Secretary Louis Sullivan, among others. HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said today that medical malpractice reform remains a top priority of the Bush administration. Meanwhile, the House Energy and Commerce Committee's health subcommittee will hold a hearing tomorrow on the need for reform. -- by Jeff Tieman
Healthcare leaders push for malpractice reform
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