Mistakes are common in medicine. Traditionally, physicians and hospitals have been reluctant to admit mistakes out of embarrassment or because of fear that they might be sued for malpractice. Recently, however, physicians have recognized that mistakes are an opportunity to improve the safety and quality of health care. Since 2001, the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) has encouraged all its health care workers to report mistakes they may have made or observed. The UMHS also has a policy of telling patients and families that mistakes were made, who made them, and how they were made. If an internal inquiry suggests that a physician was at fault for an injury caused by a mistake, the system offers the patient or family financial compensation. The policy promotes honesty and quality, but it could be expensive for UMHS if more patients, family members, and attorneys seek large awards for disclosed mistakes as a result.