The University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) has been trying out a unique way of addressing medical errors in its hospitals: own up to the mistake, apologize, and offer appropriate compensation. 

You read that right, Kentucky.

The Michigan Model

ScienceDaily discusses the Michigan Model, which is also called DA&O—“disclose, apologize, and offer.” At the heart of the approach are three key principles:

  1. Compensate patients quickly and fairly when inappropriate care causes injury.
  2. Support clinical staff when the care was reasonable.
  3. Reduce patient injuries (and claims) by learning from patients’ experiences. 

A paper on the Michigan Model, as the approach has come to be known, was written primarily by researchers from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Medical Society, and appeared in the December issue of the Milbank Quarterly. Darrell A. Campbell, Jr., M.D., UMHS chief medical officer, and Rick Boothman, J.D., executive director of clinical safety, presented the groundbreaking approach at the U-M Board of Regents on December 14, 2012.

Results of the Approach

For 10 years, Campbell and Boothman have been implementing the Michigan Model and documenting the results, which include the following:

  • New malpractice claims have dropped.
  • Total liability costs have dropped.
  • Claims and potential claims have been resolved more quickly.
  • UMHS has been increasingly able to avoid litigation for claims with and without merit. 

Boothman declares, “By handling unanticipated and unintended incidents and patient injuries honestly and proactively, we’ve virtually eliminated groundless legal claims, allowing us to focus on issues that demand attention with clear vision and no more excuses. We fundamentally focus on putting patients and safety first, and we believe other hospitals can do the same.” 

DA&O has benefited patients, medical staff, and even UMHS, which has for the most part been able to step off the costly treadmill of “deny and defend”—the usual response to medical malpractice claims. 

Boothman points out that the federal Agency for Health Care Research and Quality has issued grants for teams to study the Michigan Model as a remedy for the malpractice crisis. Legislative and research efforts focused partly on DA&O have begun in Massachusetts, Washington, New York, Illinois, Oregon, and Florida. Four other countries have shown interest in the approach, as well. 

Contact the medical malpractice attorneys in Kentucky if someone you love has died or suffered brain injury as a result of medical malpractice. Call Gray and White Law right away at 502-210-8942 or toll free at 888-450-4456 to schedule a FREE, no-obligation consultation.

Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law