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Common Good Responds to a Trial Bar Study Opposing Health Courts

NEW YORK, Oct. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Philip K. Howard, Chair of Common Good, the national nonpartisan legal reform coalition, issued the following statement today in response to a recent study on health courts that was commissioned by the American Association of Justice:

"The American Association of Justice (formerly known as the Association

of Trial Lawyers of America) recently released a study that it

commissioned on the potential of health courts to improve medical

justice. The study was conducted by two professors at Case Western

Reserve University, Max Mehlman and Dale Nance.

The study is critical of the concept of health courts, which is not

surprising, given the longstanding opposition of the AAJ and ATLA to

even trying out health courts on a pilot project basis. Their position

may be influenced by the fact that 60 percent of total malpractice costs

goes to lawyers' fees and administrative costs.

The findings of the study conflict with the views of a broad coalition

of patient advocates, consumer groups, health care providers, think

tanks, and others that have called for pilot projects for health courts.

A proposal to guide the development of pilot projects is currently being

jointly developed by Common Good and the Harvard School of Public Health

with funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The current system fails to provide reliable justice. Most patients who

are harmed by medical errors get no compensation at all. Doctors who did

nothing wrong, especially in circumstances of human tragedy, can be hit

with huge verdicts. Moreover, predictable standards of care upon which

doctors and patients can rely are sorely lacking. The nearly universal

distrust of medical justice increases costs -- tens of billions of

dollars are spent annually on defensive medicine -- and impedes efforts

to enhance health care quality, by chilling the candid professional

interaction needed for effective health care.

The time has come to put the public interest ahead of special


For further information or to speak with Philip K. Howard, Chair of Common Good, contact Jessie duPont at 212-576-2700 x232.

Common Good ( is a nonpartisan legal reform coalition dedicated to restoring common sense to America. Its advisory board is composed of leaders in a wide range of fields: former government officials, including Howard Baker, Bill Bradley, Griffin Bell, Newt Gingrich, Eric Holder, George McGovern, Diane Ravitch, Alan Simpson, and Richard Thornburgh; current and former university presidents, including Bill Brody, Tom Kean, George Rupp, and John Silber; and numerous other leaders in education, health care, law, business, and public policy. The Chair of Common Good is Philip K. Howard, a lawyer and author of The Death of Common Sense and The Collapse of the Common Good.

SOURCE Common Good
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