Massachusetts makes headway in malpractice reform

Massachusetts policies have made it easier for patients and providers to avoid malpractice litigation, Kaiser Health News reported. In accordance with one recently enacted law, patients have to give providers six months' notice if they intend to sue them for a medical mistake, giving hospital officials time to talk with the patient about why the error occurred and what steps they are taking to prevent future errors. In one case cited by Kaiser, a hospital that failed to diagnose a woman's stage 3 ovarian cancer apologized for its error and reached a financial settlement with the patient in the space of one year, avoiding a drawn-out lawsuit. "The hospital did the right thing," the woman's attorney, Jeffrey Catalano, told the publication. "My client felt really good about it. She felt like she was heard." Other hospitals in the state are developing a statewide communication, apology and resolution program that similarly aim to tackle malpractice reform. Article