ASSEMBLY, No. 2619

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

213th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MAY 12, 2008

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman NEIL M. COHEN

District 20 (Union)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes Sorry Works! pilot program in certain hospitals.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act establishing the Sorry Works! pilot program in certain hospitals.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  a.  The Commissioner of Health and Senior Services shall establish the Sorry Works! pilot program to operate for a period of two years, in accordance with the provisions of this act, in general hospitals designated by the commissioner.

     (1)  The commissioner shall establish criteria for a hospital to participate in the program and solicit applications from interested hospitals.

     (2)  A hospital that wishes to participate in the program shall apply to the commissioner on a form, in a manner, and within a time frame prescribed by the commissioner.

     (3)  A hospital may participate in the program only with the approval of its administration and organized medical staff.

     (4)  During the first year of its operation, participation in the program shall be made available to one hospital.

     (5)  During the second year of the program's operation, participation in the program shall be open to one additional hospital.

     b.  Under the program, a participating hospital and its physicians shall be required to:

     (1)  promptly acknowledge and apologize for mistakes in patient care and promptly offer fair settlements;

     (2)  encourage patients and families to retain their own legal counsel to ensure that their rights are protected and to help facilitate negotiations for fair settlements; and

     (3)  report to the commissioner its total costs for healing art malpractice verdicts, settlements, and defense litigation for the preceding five years to enable the commissioner to determine average costs for that hospital during that period.

     c.  The commissioner, in consultation with the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance, shall develop standards and protocols to compare costs for cases handled by traditional means and cases handled under the Sorry Works! protocol. 

     d.  The commissioner, in consultation with the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance, shall report to the Governor, and to the Legislature pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), no later than two years after the date that the Sorry Works! pilot program commences operating, on the results of the pilot program, and shall accompany that report with any recommendations that the commissioner desires to make for legislative or other policy actions to address any findings of the report, including, but not limited to, expanding the pilot program.


     2.  This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire upon the issuance of the report required pursuant to section 1 of this act.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill establishes a hospital-based pilot program to test the efficacy of a non-traditional approach to handling relations with patients and their families in the case of medical errors.

     The bill provides specifically as follows:

·   The Commissioner of Health and Senior Services is to establish a two-year Sorry Works! pilot program, in accordance with the provisions of the bill, in general hospitals designated by the commissioner.

     --  The commissioner is to establish criteria for a hospital to participate in the program and solicit applications from interested hospitals.

     --  A hospital that wishes to participate in the program must apply to the commissioner on a form, in a manner, and within a time frame prescribed by the commissioner.

     --  A hospital may participate in the program only with the approval of its administration and organized medical staff.

     --  During the first year of its operation, participation in the program will be made available to one hospital.

     --  During the second year of the program's operation, participation in the program will be open to one additional hospital.  

·   Under the program, a participating hospital and its physicians are required to:

     --  promptly acknowledge and apologize for mistakes in patient care and promptly offer fair settlements;

     --  encourage patients and families to retain their own legal counsel to ensure that their rights are protected and to help facilitate negotiations for fair settlements; and

     --  report to the commissioner its total costs for healing art malpractice verdicts, settlements, and defense litigation for the preceding five years to enable the commissioner to determine average costs for that hospital during that period.

·   The commissioner, in consultation with the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance, is to develop standards and protocols to compare costs for cases handled by traditional means and cases handled under the Sorry Works! protocol. 

·   The commissioner, in consultation with the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance, is to report to the Governor and Legislature no later than two years after the date that the pilot program commences operating, on the results of the program, and to accompany that report with any recommendations that the commissioner desires to make for legislative or other policy actions to address any findings of the report, including, but not limited to, expanding the pilot program.

·   The bill expires upon the issuance of the required report.

     The provisions of this bill are based on a recommendation included in the September, 2007 report of the Medical Care Availability Task Force established pursuant to section 31 of the “New Jersey Medical Care Access and Responsibility and Patients First Act,” P.L.2004, c.17.