New York courts specializing in the state’s 4,000 medical malpractice cases filed annually have begun expanding following the success of a Bronx judge in expediting the settlement process.
The approach, which has shown to save money by reducing court backlogs, has been extended to the other boroughs, through the implementation of training and educational programs.
Starting December 1st, New York Chief Administrative Judge, Ann Pfau, will become the coordinating judge of the court system’s medical malpractice segment. The program is using a $3 million federal grant to train more judges in expediting the process.
Bronx Justice Douglas McKeon, who has focused on malpractice cases for over 15 years, said he helped settle over 1,000 malpractice suits in his career. The efficacy in settling such cases is attributed to the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation—an entity which runs 11 public hospitals and uses its own claims and law department to settle cases in a streamlined fashion.
Courpration deputy counsel Suzzane Blundi stated that the entity revamped their commitment to patient safety, developing programs to manage claims, improve care and decrease payouts. The effort also investigates malpractice claims early on to help expedite settlements.