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Michigan hospitals find owning up to medical errors helps all

Many victims of medical errors here in Michigan pursue medical malpractice claims, in part, because they want answers. In many cases, unfortunately, it can be difficult to get to the bottom of why a particular mistake occurred without litigation. This is because hospitals and doctors are not always forthcoming with this information. However, some hospitals in Michigan are becoming more honest about medical mistakes and they are finding that it is beneficial for doctors, hospitals and patients.

The University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor began its Early Disclosure and Offer program back in 2001. The program was a full-disclosure policy, which involved encouraging medical providers to acknowledge medical errors and discuss them with patients. Settlements would also be offered if the provider thought that they were warranted.

The result of this program has reportedly been a reduction in medical malpractice claims and lawsuits.

In fact, it has been such a success from the health system's point of view that several other hospitals in Michigan have developed similar programs.

Additionally, it has been reported that this policy has been linked to improvements in patient care as well as compensation for more victims of medical errors.

While it is nice to hear that more Michigan area hospitals are adopting policies that involve open and honest communications between doctors, hospitals and patients, victims of medical malpractice may still be wise to research their rights before accepting settlement offers. In some cases, this might mean talking to a medical malpractice attorney to ensure a proposed settlement protects one's rights and interests.

Resolving these types of cases outside of court is often beneficial for everyone involved. However, it is important that the patient understands all of his or her rights and options during such proceedings.

Source: Crain's Detroit Business, "UM Health System finds honesty is the best policy," Jay Greene, May 12, 2013

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