The Secretary is authorized to award demonstration grants to States for the development, implementation, and evaluation of alternatives to current tort litigation for resolving disputes over injuries allegedly caused by health care providers or health care organizations. In awarding such grants, the Secretary shall ensure the diversity of the alternatives so funded.
The Secretary may award grants under subsection (a) for a period not to exceed 5 years.
Each State desiring a grant under subsection (a) shall identify the sources from and methods by which compensation would be paid for claims resolved under the proposed alternative to current tort litigation, which may include public or private funding sources, or a combination of such sources. Funding methods shall to the extent practicable provide financial incentives for activities that improve patient safety.
Each State desiring a grant under subsection (a) shall establish a scope of jurisdiction (such as Statewide, designated geographic region, a designated area of health care practice, or a designated group of health care providers or health care organizations) for the proposed alternative to current tort litigation that is sufficient to evaluate the effects of the alternative. No scope of jurisdiction shall be established under this paragraph that is based on a health care payer or patient population.
A State shall demonstrate how patients would be notified that they are receiving health care services that fall within such scope, and the process by which they may opt out of or voluntarily withdraw from participating in the alternative. The decision of the patient whether to participate or continue participating in the alternative process shall be made at any time and shall not be limited in any way.
In reviewing applications under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall consult with a review panel composed of relevant experts appointed by the Comptroller General.
The Comptroller General shall solicit nominations from the public for individuals to serve on the review panel.
The Comptroller General shall designate a member of the review panel to be the chairperson of the review panel.
The review panel may request directly from any department or agency of the United States any information that such panel considers necessary to carry out its duties. To the extent consistent with applicable laws and regulations, the head of such department or agency shall furnish the requested information to the review panel.
Each State receiving a grant under subsection (a) shall submit to the Secretary an annual report evaluating the effectiveness of activities funded with grants awarded under such subsection. Such report shall, at a minimum, include the impact of the activities funded on patient safety and on the availability and price of medical liability insurance.
The Secretary shall submit to Congress an annual compendium of the reports submitted under paragraph (1) and an analysis of the activities funded under subsection (a) that examines any differences that result from such activities in terms of the quality of care, number and nature of medical errors, medical resources used, length of time for dispute resolution, and the availability and price of liability insurance.
The Secretary shall provide technical assistance to the States applying for or awarded grants under subsection (a).
The Secretary, in consultation with the review panel established under subsection (d)(2), shall enter into a contract with an appropriate research organization to conduct an overall evaluation of the effectiveness of grants awarded under subsection (a) and to annually prepare and submit a report to Congress. Such an evaluation shall begin not later than 18 months following the date of implementation of the first program funded by a grant under subsection (a).
The Secretary shall reserve 5 percent of the amount appropriated in each fiscal year under subsection (k) to carry out this subsection.
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission shall conduct an independent review of the alternatives to current tort litigation that are implemented under grants under subsection (a) to determine the impact of such alternatives on the Medicare program under title XVIII of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq.], and its beneficiaries.
The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission shall conduct an independent review of the alternatives to current tort litigation that are implemented under grants under subsection (a) to determine the impact of such alternatives on the Medicaid or CHIP programs under titles XIX and XXI of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq., 1397aa et seq.], and their beneficiaries.
Not later than December 31, 2016, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission shall each submit to Congress a report that includes the findings and recommendations of each respective Commission based on independent reviews conducted under paragraphs (1) and (2), including an analysis of the impact of the alternatives reviewed on the efficiency and effectiveness of the respective programs.
Of the funds appropriated pursuant to subsection (k), the Secretary may use a portion not to exceed $500,000 per State to provide planning grants to such States for the development of demonstration project applications meeting the criteria described in subsection (c). In selecting States to receive such planning grants, the Secretary shall give preference to those States in which State law at the time of the application would not prohibit the adoption of an alternative to current tort litigation.
The term “health care organization” means any individual or entity which is obligated to provide, pay for, or administer health benefits under any health plan.
There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section, $50,000,000 for the 5-fiscal year period beginning with fiscal year 2011.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit any prior, current, or future efforts of any State to establish any alternative to tort litigation.