Medical Liability Reform & Patient Safety Initiative

Too many patients experience significant challenges with health care quality and patient safety, and injured patients are not well-served by the current medical liability system. In addition, the medical community reports serious problems with the medical liability system. In response, one component of President Obama's health care reform proposals is launching a new demonstration initiative through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).


AHRQ is soliciting applications for a new demonstration initiative (R18) that will help States and health care systems to test models that meet the following goals:

  • Put patient safety first and work to reduce preventable injuries.
  • Foster better communication between doctors and their patients.
  • Ensure that patients are compensated in a fair and timely manner for medical injuries while also reducing the incidence of frivolous lawsuits.
  • Reduce liability premiums.

Select for a list of prior awards for the demonstration grants.

AHRQ is also supporting planning grants (R21) to State and health systems for future initiatives in patient safety and medical liability reform.

Select for a list of prior awards for the planning grants.

Select for the Medical Liability Reform and Patient Safety Initiative Progress Report on the demonstration and planning grants.

For closed solicitations for demonstration and planning grants, select:

Research on Reforming Medical Liability

In 2009, AHRQ researchers examined the impact of medical liability reforms on the frequency and size of malpractice claims, malpractice costs, and patient safety. They found some research on the impact of reforms on the frequency and severity of malpractice claims but scant evidence about their impact on patient safety because information about the number of medical errors is scarce and often inaccurate.

Select to access: Review of Reforms to Our Medical Liability System.

Technical Assistance

A Technical Assistance Conference Call was held on applications to AHRQ's Medical Liability and Patient Safety Funding Opportunity Announcements on Thursday, November 12, 2009. During the call, AHRQ staff highlighted information found in the FOAs and responded to representative questions submitted in advance.

For a summary of the conference call, select:

Subcommittee on Patient Safety and Medical Liability Reform

The Subcommittee of the AHRQ National Advisory Committee met on October 26:


Patient Safety and Medical Liability Reform: Putting the Patient First

Program Announcements (Future Funding)

More Information

Go to the HHS Fact Sheet for details on the Patient Safety and Medical Liability Reform Demonstration.

Page last reviewed February 2012
Internet Citation: Medical Liability Reform & Patient Safety Initiative. February 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.