The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Division of Advocacy and Health Policy (DAHP) in December released a new resource on the medical liability system in the U.S. and prospects for reform. The primer is available at https://www.facs.org/advocacy/practmanagement/primers. Surgeons and Medical Liability: A Guide to Understanding Medical Liability Reform represents months of effort by the ACS Legislative Committee, chaired by Don Selzer, MD, FACS; DAHP staff; and several global surgery research associates at the Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
The document includes historical perspectives on the medical liability system, a critical analysis of traditional tort reform, and a review of the alternative reform propositions that policy makers are currently studying and considering. Because neither patients nor providers are well served by the existing liability system, ACS Fellows need to be informed about ongoing challenges, as well as opportunities for implementation of alternative reforms, that are under consideration at both the state and federal level. Additional resources on medical liability reform will be released in the coming months.