Patient safety, medical liability reform grants still up for grabs

There is still plenty of time for healthcare organizations to win some of the $25 million in federal grants that's up for grabs for programs that promote patient safety and medical liability reform.

At a recent forum sponsored by Common Good and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Washington D.C., potential grant applicants heard leading patient safety and liability reform experts share tips on how to design winning proposals. First: Inquire about coalitions forming in your area to help strengthen your program. And be sure to contact state medical societies or larger health systems for support and teaming up, suggested Andrew Park, who heads up Common Good.

Other speakers included Lucian Leape, widely acknowledged as one of the founders of the patient-safety movement; and Richard Boothman, chief risk officer at the University of Michigan Health System, which has lowered its medical malpractice claims and improved patient safety by instituting a proactive approach that includes full disclosure, apology and compensation in the case of avoidable medical errors.

Grant proposals are due by Jan. 20, 2010, but they won't even be accepted until Dec. 20. So if you haven't yet begun your proposal, you're not too late. Grants of up to three years and $3 million each will be awarded on a competitive basis. Applicants also may qualify for up to $300,000 for a one-year planning grant for an innovation that is still being developed, the AMA reports. 

The $25 million initiative includes a grant program administered by the Agency on Healthcare Review and Quality (AHRQ). States and established health systems are encouraged to apply. Most proposals will include coalitions of organizations working together.

More information on the grant program (HS-10-021 and HS-10-022) is available at and from the National Institutes of Health. Information about the forum, tips on developing a proposal, and a webcast of the forum is available here.