American Medical Association (AMA) Formally Supports Disclosure & Apology
The American Medical Association recently declared formal support for disclosure and apology programs. Here is the language:
RESOLUTION 227 COMMUNICATION AND RESOLUTION PROGRAM RECOMMENDATION A
Madam Speaker, your Reference Committee recommends that Resolution 227 be adopted as amended
Your Reference Committee heard supportive testimony on Resolution 227. Your Reference Committee agrees with testimony presented that early communication and resolution programs are an effective way to learn from medical errors and near misses, enhance patient safety, and improve the liability system. Your Reference Committee also heard that multiple studies have already shown the benefits of this early communication and that our AMA does not need to conduct a study to demonstrate effectiveness. Therefore, your Reference Committee recommends that Resolution 227 be amended and adopted to demonstrate our AMA’s support of early communication and resolution programs.
Also, here is a link -- see page 17.
Often I get asked what is the biggest change or improvement you have seen with the disclosure movement? I always respond, "The discussion has changed dramatically. When I began Sorry Works! 13 years ago, I would get calls for speaking engagements and they would actually be debates, where a hospital or insurer would pit me against their attorneys or claims guys. I don't get those calls anymore. Instead, hospitals, nursing homes, and insurers ask for disclosure training and help with implementing their disclosure programs.”
I also remember from those early days that the AMA (or AMA reps) as well as other medical groups would be hostile to Sorry Works! At best I could get, "Well, when we get tort reform we'll consider your idea. Besides, disclosure can't really reduce liability anyway...it's probably just a set up for the trial bar." We've come a long way.
We have started to change the culture of medicine. This AMA endorsement is a huge step! Sure, there is a lot of work to do and the detractors are still there, except they are not as public as they used to be. The biggest needs going forward are training front-line staff while refining disclosure processes. Sorry Works! stands ready to help nursing homes and hospitals design and develop successful disclosure programs. Just call 618-559-8168 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doug Wojcieszak, 618-559-8168