Beginning in April 2012, an alliance of healthcare organizations began work to reform the medical liability system in Massachusetts to deal fairly and honestly with unanticipated adverse healthcare outcomes. This effort was called Communication, Apology, and Resolution (CARe), and was followed by passage of Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012, which included several provisions designed to foster more conversation between provider and patient prior to engaging in legal action.
In the CARe program, patients and families who experience adverse medical events are provided full communication about the facts of the event, and have the opportunity to ask questions and receive timely, honest answers. In cases of preventable injury, providers and healthcare organizations apologize, discuss with patients what will be done to prevent the error from recurring, and work with their insurers to give patients a fair and timely resolution and, if appropriate, compensation, without the patient having to resort to litigation.
Some hospitals piloted the CARe program and their results were positive; there were no cost increases, at some sites claim and defense costs were even lower than previously reported, and caregivers strongly supported the program.
The Massachusetts Alliance for Communication and Resolution Following Medical Injury (MACRMI) is available to help all Massachusetts healthcare organizations get a CARe program up and running for free. For more information, visit the MACRMI website