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New York City’s Common Good, a nonpartisan legal reform coalition, has teamed up with Princeton, N.J.’s Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which focuses on health issues, to launch an alternative medical injury litigation program in six states. The nearly $1 million, two-year grant from the foundation will allow the State Action Project to take place in Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming. Common Good plans to develop proposals for establishing a health court or an administrative compensation system in each pilot state. “The basic idea of the health court model is to increase predictability of justice, help ensure patient safety, improve patient compensation and increase timeliness of the system,” said Paul Barringer, general counsel for Common Good who works out of the organization’s Washington office. The current system is inefficient because of the steep administrative costs and the fact that most claims take years to resolve, Barringer said. The system also has adverse effects on medicine because it limits the willingness of medical providers to discuss mistakes so others could learn from them, he said. Common Good will convene experts such as academics, doctors and consumer advocates and rely on a prototype for health courts it developed with the Harvard School of Public Health. The six pilot states were chosen because of strong stakeholder interest, Barringer said.

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