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State program to reduce costs of malpractice suits

The state will conduct a pilot program to reduce expenses associated with medical malpractice lawsuits and improve patient safety to reduce preventable injuries.

The three-year initiative, supported by a $2.9 million federal grant, is partially based on a model developed by Bronx Supreme Court judge.

The project will be led by the state Unified Court System with the Department of Health and five New York City hospitals that will receive funds for patient safety initiatives and contribute significant in-kind funds.

The funding is part of a federal initiative to support efforts by state and health systems to implement projects that improve patient safety, foster better communications between doctors and their patients; ensure that patients are fairly and quickly compensated for medical injuries; and reduce the incidence of frivolous lawsuits and the cost of medical liability premiums paid to physicians and hospitals.

It is hoped, according to the state Health Department, that the pilot project will become a national model for savings and reform in medical malpractice cases.