Common Good Testifies for Special Health Care Courts

In the email today:

New York, NY July 13, 2006 Common Good, the bipartisan legal reform coalition, announced that its general counsel Paul Barringer testified today at a hearing of the Subcommittee on Health of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce. The hearing focused on innovative solutions to medical liability, and Common Goods testimony addressed the need for special health courts.

The hearing followed soon after a similar hearing held last month by the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee. On that occasion, Common Goods Chair Philip K. Howard testified about health courts.
In the Senate, Michael Enzi (R-WY) and Max Baucus (D-MT) have introduced a bill to authorize and fund pilot health courts. In the House, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) has introduced similar legislation.

I’ll put the rest in the extended entry.

I’m guardedly in favor of these. More at Common Good.

The idea of special health courts, being championed by Common Good, has generated bipartisan support as a way of restoring reliability to medical justice. Both U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and the Progressive Policy Institute, known in the 1990s as President Clintons idea mill, have endorsed the concept. So have many of the most prominent leaders in American health care, including patient safety experts and deans of medical schools and schools of public health.
Among those calling for health courts on at least a pilot project basis are such renowned organizations concerned with patient safety and health care quality as the AARP, Consumers Advancing Patient Safety, the Partnership for Patient Safety, and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
Six prominent hospitals and academic medical centers have also expressed strong interest in serving as pilot projects for special health courts. They are: Duke University School of Medicine and Health System (Durham, NC); Emory Healthcare (Atlanta, GA); Jackson Health System/University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine (Miami, FL); Johns Hopkins Medicine (Baltimore, MD); New York-Presbyterian. The University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell. (New York, NY); and Yale-New Haven Hospital/Yale Medical Group (New Haven, CT).
Special health courts would be devoted exclusively to addressing health care issues, much as existing specialized courts focus on other areas of law: admiralty courts, tax courts, drug courts, bankruptcy courts, and administrative tribunals in areas ranging from workers compensation to vaccine liability.
The hallmark of special health courts would be full-time judges, trained in health care issues. These judges would define and interpret standards of care in malpractice cases, relying on neutral experts paid by the court and setting precedent from one case to another.
Special health courts would ensure that patients injured by mistakes would be reliably compensated, without having to pay one third or more to lawyers.
Common Good is currently leading the effort to develop models for special health courts in partnership with The Harvard School of Public Health, with funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. For additional information on health courts, visit
Copies of the Congressional testimony of Philip K. Howard and Paul Barringer are available online at
Common Good is a bipartisan legal reform coalition dedicated to restoring common sense to American law. Its advisory board is composed of leaders in a wide range of fields: former government officials, including Howard Baker, Bill Bradley, Griffin Bell, Newt Gingrich, Eric Holder, George McGovern, Diane Ravitch, Alan Simpson, and Richard Thornburgh; current and former university presidents, including Bill Brody, Tom Kean, George Rupp, and John Silber; and numerous other leaders in education, healthcare, law, business, and public policy. The Chair of Common Good is Philip K. Howard, a lawyer and author of The Death of Common Sense and The Collapse of the Common Good.
For further information, contact Danielle Rhoades at (212) 576-2700 x242.



  1. There was a good article in Slate the other day about malpractice:

  2. Anything from “Common Good” cannot be so. It it an altruistic concept that has done more to degredate liberty in the US than any other.

    Now with that said … I’ll go read the post.