As part of its health-care bill, the Obama Administration included money for grants to states to launch projects aimed at curbing costs associated with medical malpractice litigation. One of these grants has been used to fund a project in New York that gets judges involved early on in malpractice cases in an effort to settle the cases and save court costs. Here is an article on the New York Times on it, and a report by the Wall Street Journal law blog.
Unfortunately, the proposal is based on a false premise: that medical malpractice cases "sharply increase health care costs", a claim that has been proven false by multiple studies. For links to those, click on my section on medical malpractice on the right side panel and scroll down. You will find many posts on that subject.
For a critique of the New York proposal go the the PopTort blog where you will find an article that concludes that the "federal grant proposal is an anti-patient, anti-plaintiff model that will harm patients, interfere with efforts to expose unsafe medical care, and has no place in New York State or the rest of the country."