For Immediate Release
June 5, 2024


New York’s Physicians Remain Alarmed by Patient Access to Care Consequences
of Latest Wrongful Death Liability Expansion Legislation


Statement attributable to:
Jerome Cohen, MD
Medical Society of the State of New York

“New York’s physicians are alarmed by the patient access to care consequences of the latest version of legislation (A.9232-B/S.8485-B) that would exponentially expand damages awardable in wrongful death actions.

“This new bill remains substantially similar to bills previously vetoed by Governor Hochul. Our concerns with this proposal remain unchanged – the staggering increases in liability insurance costs on top of our already unaffordable liability premiums without the inclusion of any balancing measure to contain these costs. Without such balance, this legislation will almost certainly exacerbate the already challenging patient access to care issues we face in regions all across the State of New York, particularly in the underserved areas that face the greatest shortages.

“Previous iterations of this legislation were vetoed by Governor Hochul for a number of reasons, including concerns that the bill ‘would increase already high insurance burdens on families and small businesses and further strain already-distressed healthcare workers and institutions’ which would be ‘particularly challenging for struggling hospitals in underserved communities’. Her second veto message specifically articulated her concerns with the ‘significant unintended consequences’ of this proposal, including the impact to our community healthcare infrastructure because of the likely huge increase in liability costs it would face through these expanded liability awards.

“These profound concerns have not been addressed in the new legislation. An actuarial study of the previously vetoed legislation concluded that the legislation was expected to increase New York’s already outrageously high medical liability premiums by nearly 40%. The actuarial study that concluded this enormous premium impact was based almost entirely upon the component of the bill that would enable the awarding of damages for ‘grief and anguish’, as the current legislation continues to do, not the sections that have been revised from the bills that were previously vetoed.

“New York already has a notorious history as being one the worst states in the country to deliver patient care (Best & Worst States for Doctors (, in large part because its liability costs and risks far exceed all other states. While some advocates claim that New York’s existing wrongful death law is an outlier compared to other states’ laws, they fail to mention that many other states across the country have laws that limit medical liability damages that can be awarded.

“As we just completed a state Budget cycle where there was much emphasis placed on addressing gaps in patient access, it is astonishing a measure has again passed that would undermine these significant new investments contained in this Budget. This bill would do nothing to address the problems facing New York’s healthcare system and, instead, make these problems far worse by adding substantial new costs at a time when they can least afford to incur them.

“We urge that Governor Hochul again veto this bill and work with legislators to develop compromise legislation that balances the rights of grieving families with provisions to reduce the exorbitant liability costs incurred by our hospitals and physicians.”

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Founded in 1807, the Medical Society of the State of New York is the state’s principal non-profit professional organization for physicians, residents, and medical students of all specialties. Its mission is to represent the interests of patients and physicians to assure quality healthcare services for all. 


Media Contact:
Roseann Raia | Manager, Communications
Medical Society of the State of New York
865 Merrick Avenue
Westbury, NY 11590
516.488.6100 x302 | [email protected]

Julie Vecchione
Vice President, Communications
Medical Society of the State of New York
865 Merrick Avenue
Westbury, NY 11590
516.488.6100 x340 | [email protected]

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