Will Health Care Reform Change Medical Malpractice Litigation?

The health care reform legislation recently passed by Congress is a lot of things to a lot of people, but it is most certainly not simple.  It involves many changes in the way health care will be administered in the United States in coming years.  Though, many people assert, the new law does not go far enough in changing the medical malpractice system. 

Are the Changes to the Medical Malpractice System Significant?

The new law does not place caps on medical malpractice or require any changes to the current medical malpractice system.  However, it does encourage change by allowing Health and Human Services to award five year grants to states that will develop, implement and analyze alternative means to resolving medical malpractice disputes.  Some of the proposed alternatives include health courts or early offer programs.  The grants may begin to be awarded as early as 2011 if the legislation is not successfully challenged and if there are states interested in participating.

Whether these changes will prove to be significant to medical malpractice plaintiffs, doctors, and hospitals is not yet known but it is something to watch closely in the coming years.