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AHRQ's Patient Safety and Medical Liability Initiative (Text Version)

Slide Presentation from the AHRQ 2011 Annual Conference

On September 19, 2011, James Battles made this presentation at the 2011 Annual Conference. Select to access the PowerPoint® presentation (370 KB). 

Slide 1

AHRQ's Patient Safety and Medical Liability Initiative

James B. Battles Ph.D.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety

Slide 2

Presidential Action

On September 9, 2009, President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress to announce his proposals for health insurance reform. One component of such a plan includes investing in new ways to manage medical liability claims. The President stated:

So I'm proposing that we move forward on a range of ideas about how to put patient safety first and let doctors focus on practicing medicine.

I think it's a good idea, and I'm directing my Secretary of Health and Human Services to move forward on this initiative today.

Slide 3


  • Put patient safety first and work to reduce preventable injuries.
  • Foster better communication between doctors and their patients.
  • Ensure that patients are compensated in a fair and timely manner for medical injuries, while also reducing the incidence of frivolous lawsuits.
  • Reduce liability premiums.

Slide 4

Components of the Patient Safety and Medical Liability Initiative

  • Review of what works.
  • Grants awarded (June 2010):
    • Demonstration.
    • Planning.
  • Evaluation contract.
  • Open funding announcements (November 2010).

Slide 5

Review of What Works

  • Document published by AHRQ in December, 2009.
  • "Review of Reforms to Our Medical Liability System".
  • Examined medical liability reforms:
    • Full Disclosure/early offer programs.
    • Certificate of merit programs.
    • Caps on damage awards.
    • Pre-trial screening panels.
    • Health courts.
  • Studies conflict on impact of reforms on frequency or severity of claims.
  • Little evidence on impact of reforms on patient safety.

Slide 6

Stakeholder Input

  • AHRQ reached out to a wide range of stakeholders representing different views about the extent and nature of the medical liability problem:
    • Health care providers, patients, academicians, insurers, and lawyers.
  • Outreach included an October 26, 2009 all-day public meeting.
  • Unanimous support for reforms that can measurably improve patient safety and help bring rationality and fairness to the medical liability system.
  • Stakeholder input informed the development of the demonstration and planning grants review criteria.

Slide 7

2010 Grants

  • RFA published—October 20, 2009.
  • Awards announced—June 11, 2010.
  • Address patient safety and medical liability.
  • Four goals of the initiative (patient safety first, communication, compensation, reduce liability premiums).
  • $23 million.
  • 20 grants awarded (7 demonstration, 13 planning).
  • Largest government investment linking medical liability to quality.
  • Variety of models.

Slide 8

Demonstration Grants

  • States and/or health care systems.
  • 3 year grants.
  • Up to $3 million/grant.
  • 7 demonstration grants.
  • Total $19.7 million.

Slide 9

Planning Grants

  • States and/or health care systems.
  • 1 year grants.
  • Up to $300,000.
  • 13 grants awarded.
  • Total $3.5 million.

Slide 10

Evaluation Contract

  • An independent program evaluation across all patient safety and medical liability grants.
  • Awarded to JBA/RAND.
  • $2 million dollars/5 years.
  • Assess the impact of the projects and activities.
  • Measure and document how well the projects have contributed to addressing the patient safety and medical liability concern.

Slide 11

Current Program Announcement

  • AHRQ issued two program announcements (demonstration/planning) that will enable AHRQ to receive grant applications now and make grant awards, contingent on available funding resources (November 2010).
  • Similar to previous funding announcement:
    • Eligibility was expanded beyond health systems and States to include non-profit organizations;.
    • Consortiums (States, health systems and risk management organizations).
    • Next submission due date is May 25, 2011.

Slide 12

Featured Projects

Demonstration Grants.

  • Judy Kluger, J.D.
    New York State Unified Court System, New York, NY.
  • Ann Hendrich, M.S., R.N., F.A.A.N. Ascension Health System, St. Louis, MO.

Planning Grants.

  • Kenneth Sands, M.D., M.P.H.  Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA.

Slide 13

Hold Your Questions?

We will take questions at the end of the three presentations.

Page last reviewed October 2014
Internet Citation: AHRQ's Patient Safety and Medical Liability Initiative (Text Version): Slide Presentation from the AHRQ 2011 Annual Conference. October 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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