Under the current liability system in most states, litigation is the main pathway for patients to seek compensation when they have been harmed during the course of their medical care. This can take a great emotional toll on all involved. Health care provider organizations in Massachusetts are showing increased interest in an alternative model known as CARe.

Benefits of CARe

Communication, Apology, and Resolution (CARe) is a model for more quickly, fairly, and compassionately meeting the needs of patients who have been harmed during procedures or treatments. Built upon a culture of safety that relies on solid root cause analysis, it includes communication with the patient about the event and its causes, apology when appropriate, and timely and fair injury compensation.

This model is used in a growing number of health care organizations across the state and nation. It facilitates open and honest conversations and includes a pathway for compensation for patients if they were significantly harmed by substandard care. In addition to being ethically the right thing to do, this approach also advances patient safety by capturing and investigating more cases from which the institutions and providers can learn and improve their practices.

How it works

Health care organizations follow these steps:

  1. Proactively identify adverse events;
  2. Distinguish between injuries caused by human and/or system error, and those arising from complications of disease or intrinsically high-risk medical care;
  3. Offer patients full disclosure and honest explanations;
  4. Offer an apology with rapid and fair compensation when standards of care were not met and caused serious harm.


Bring CARe to your organization

Please email Melinda.VanNiel@BetsyLehmanCenterMA.gov with questions about adopting the CARe approach at your organization.

Doctor Nurse md

Resources for clinicians

Read through FAQs about the CARe process and how to communicate with patients after an adverse event, and other resources.

See more circle-arrow

Resources for administrators

Read through a list of FAQs about CARe and how it impacts a health care organization, and access other helpful resources.

See more circle-arrow
Doctors mask discussion

Peer support for the medical community

Find information about peer support for clinicians and staff in the aftermath of an adverse event.

See more circle-arrow