The state of Iowa hopes to be the target of fewer lawsuits from its citizens. Jim Chrisinger with the Iowa Department of Management says recommendations from a consulting company, the Public Strategies Group, are focusing efforts to redesign how the state and its appeals board handles claims, like cases in which someone has sued the state. The state’s looking for more active “risk management’ for the state appeal board, and more financial accountability from the state’s various agencies. A civil case, called a tort, is a lawsuit brought by a private citizen or corporation against another person or legal entity, or the state. The lawsuit will usually seek some kind of relief, repayment or damages. That’s costly for the state and Chrisinger says managers want to cut that cost.He says it can be anything — a road problem, a malpractice claim at University of Iowa Hospitals, a claim of discrimination in hiring, a case in which “somebody doesn’t like something that some social worker did.” He says when you consider the whole range of state-government services, this is a broad area. Chrisinger says they’ll never forestall every complaint against the state, but can try to anticipate and prevent a lot of them. They hope to lower the amount of those claims, so he says they’re thinking of adding a person whose entire responsibility is “risk management” for all state agencies. Currently some agencies have a person who has that among their job responsibilities but there’s nobody whose job it is to worry about risk management for the state government. That might be a person who looks at everything from roads and construction to the way agencies do their business, looking for things that might spark a lawsuit or claim against the state. They’d help people understand where they’ve got opportunities to lower risk, and how they can be safer and more proactive so there aren’t as many claims. The effort also includes recommendations to streamline the cumbersome general claims process.
You are here: / / State looks to cut down on lawsuits