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Program underway to improve the military health system

Residents of Ohio might already know about a program that aims to improve communications between military doctors and their patients following circumstances in which a patient experienced poor treatment or a medical error. The program gives patients the chance to express their feelings of frustration, sadness, confusion and anger, while physicians have the opportunity to explain why the error occurred, and what is being done so it will not be repeated.

The program, known as the Healthcare Resolutions, was first developed in 2001 in Bethesda, Maryland, at the present Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and was recently expanded by the Defense Department. The report indicated eight military medical centers are utilizing the program, and that plans were underway to implement it in more medical centers.

The program is becoming more popular in medical environments because it gives patients the assurance that any uneventful medical experience is not taken lightly. Physicians who have harmed their patients via a medical error also benefit from the program in that they can get the chance to apologize to the patient during scheduled sessions arranged by a Healthcare Resolution specialist.

However, patients and their families who use the benefits of the Healthcare Resolutions program still have the right to file a grievance or claim and may seek legal counsel if they wish. In addition, program specialists have some contact with lawyers who take cases connected with military treatment facility cases, but they are not allowed to give legal advice or opinions to patients considering legal action.

Whenever a patient stays at a hospital and experiences low-quality medical treatment or a medical error that results in a serious injury, the victim may be able to seek restitution for damages. However, because medical malpractice suits are often complicated, a skilled and experienced attorney might be able to analyze the case and evaluate the damages.

Source: Military Times, "Military doctors, patients come together after medical errors", Patricia Kime, Nov. 15, 2015

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