The University of Pittsburgh has one of the most prestigious medical schools as well as one of the finest hospitals in the US. But even the best doctors and hospitals will find themselves as a target in a medical malpractice suit. Showing why Pittsburgh remains among the most progressive hospitals in the country, they have embarked on an aggressive mediation program to head off malpractice suits and help enable a different type of healing.
The mediation program is beneficial to both sides. Both sides get cost containment (nothing is worse than spending $X to win $X or avoid paying anything). The hospital estimates that $50,000 per case is saved by going through mediation. But non-monetary issues can also be handled in a mediation, such as an apology (whic I’ve discussed in previous posts), plaques, monuments or rooms being named after the patient as well as assuring additional training for hospital staff. None of these non-monetary outcomes would ever happen in a courtroom.
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has mediated 77 cases from 2004 through mid January 2007. 68 of those mediated cases resulted in settlements. That’s an 88% success rate. The 12% who did not settle did not lose their rights to sue.
This program was based on one at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, another of the country’s great hospitals. Drexel and University of Michigan hospitals also have similar programs.