JOURNAL ARTICLE

Administrative compensation of medical injuries: a hardy perennial blooms again

Paul J Barringer, David M Studdert, Allen B Kachalia, Michelle M Mello
Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 2008, 33 (4): 725-60
18617673
Periods in which the costs of personal injury litigation and liability insurance have risen dramatically have often provoked calls for reform of the tort system, and medical malpractice is no exception. One proposal for fundamental reform made during several of these volatile periods has been to relocate personal injury disputes from the tort system to an alternative, administrative forum. In the medical injury realm, a leading incarnation of such proposals in recent years has been the idea of establishing specialized administrative "health courts." Despite considerable stakeholder and policy-maker interest, administrative compensation proposals have tended to struggle for broad political acceptance. In this article, we consider the historical experience of administrative medical injury compensation proposals, particularly in light of comparative examples in the context of workplace injuries, automobile injuries, and vaccine injuries. We conclude by examining conditions that may facilitate or impede progress toward establishing demonstration projects of health courts.

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