Demonstration Grants

Medical Liability Reform and Patient Safety

The National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality provides advice and recommendations to AHRQ's director and to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on priorities for a national health services research agenda.

Demonstration Grants


The demonstration grants for Patient Safety and Medical Liability Initiative support the implementation and evaluation of evidence-based patient safety and medical liability projects. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) funded seven demonstration grants for a total amount of $19.7 million.


The demonstration grants for the Patient Safety and Medical Liability Initiative support the implementation and evaluation of evidence-based patient safety and medical liability projects. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality funded seven demonstration grants for a total amount of $19.7 million.

These seven grants include a variety of models that meet one or more of the patient safety and medical liability reform initiative goals, including:

  • Reducing preventable harms.
  • Informing injured patients promptly, and making efforts to provide prompt compensation.
  • Promoting early disclosures and settlement, through a court-directed alternative dispute resolution model.

Timothy McDonald, M.D., J.D., University of Illinois at Chicago, IL, $2,998,083

The project is designed to fill the evidence gap regarding the impact on patient safety and litigation rates of programs that feature improved communication with patients, transparency, disclosure of adverse events, early offers of compensation, and learning from mistakes. It will evaluate the impact on Medical Liability Reform and Patient Safety outcomes of extending an existing disclosure program from an academic hospital setting to diverse hospitals in the greater Chicago area.

Stanley Davis, M.D., Fairview Health Services, Minneapolis, MN, $2,982,690

The objective of this project is to improve perinatal (the period prior to and just after birth) patient safety and demonstrate the relationship between improved patient safety and a reduction in the number of malpractice claims. The project will implement and evaluate the use of perinatal best practices in 16 hospitals to assess the impact on patient safety and the level of malpractice activity. This initiative builds on the institution's prior efforts as part of a nationwide collaborative to eliminate preventable perinatal harm.

Eric Thomas, M.D., M.P.H., University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX, $1,796,575

The project will review the use of a disclosure and compensation model, which informs injured patients and families promptly and makes efforts to provide prompt compensation. It will identify best practices for using disclosure to improve patient safety, and disseminate best practices to serve patients' needs and improve safety for subsequent patients. The project will investigate disclosure and compensation in the UT system over a three-year period, identify best practices for using disclosure to improve patient safety, and disseminate best practices with a focus on incorporating patient and family input into efforts to understand why errors occur.

Ann Hendrich, M.S., R.N., F.A.A.N., Ascension Health System, St. Louis, MO, $2,990,612

This project will focus on ways of improving both the quality of perinatal (the period prior to and just after birth) patient care delivery and the way adverse perinatal events are managed in five geographically dispersed hospitals. The project will establish a uniform, evidence-based obstetrics practice model based on the idea that eliminating variation in obstetrics practice will translate to improved patient safety.

Thomas Gallagher, M.D., University of Washington, Seattle, WA, $2,972,209

The project creates a statewide initiative involving communication training for health care workers and a collaboration between hospitals and a malpractice insurer to improve adverse event analysis, disclosure, and compensation. The goal is to enhance the culture of health care communication in order to improve patient safety and decrease medical malpractice liability.

Judy Kluger, J.D., New York State Unified Court System, New York, NY, $2,999,787

This project aims to protect obstetrical and/or surgery patients from injuries caused by providers' mistakes and reduce the cost of medical malpractice through the use of an expanded and enhanced Judge-Directed Negotiation Program currently used in New York's courts, coupled with a new hospital early disclosure and settlement model.

Alice Bonner, M.S., APRN, BC, Massachusetts State Department of Public Health, Boston, MA, $2,912,566

The project proposes to engage clinicians, patients, malpractice insurers, and the State public health agency to ensure more timely resolution of medical errors that occur in outpatient practices and improve communication in all aspects of care. The project will identify key areas contributing to ambulatory medical errors and malpractice suits in order to redesign systems and care processes to prevent, minimize, and mitigate such errors in a group of Massachusetts primary care practices. The project will also transform communication culture, processes, and outcomes in these practices so that they are more patient and family-centered, particularly with respect to proactively seeking out, handling, and learning from patients' safety experiences, concerns, and complaints.

Current as of June 2010
Internet Citation: Demonstration Grants: Medical Liability Reform and Patient Safety. June 2010. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patient-safety-resources/resources/liability/demogrants.html