Revised Wrongful Death Liability Expansion Legislation Does Not Alter Fundamental Concerns About Harm to Healthcare System

New York’s continued designation as one of the worst states in the country in which to be a physician Best & Worst States for Doctors in 2024 (wallethub.com) is a major contributing factor to patient access to care shortages we face in New York.  As legislators seek to address these gaps in patient access to care, we can ill afford to make this problem worse by enacting legislation (A.9232-A/S.8485-A) to greatly increase the damages awardable in wrongful death actions.  Physicians are urged to again contact their legislators Reducing Medical Liability Costs request that any legislation to expand liability against physicians and hospitals also take corresponding steps to bring down New York’s already staggering medical liability costs.

New York’s liability costs far exceed any other state in the country. Increasing these costs by any amount, let alone the potential 40% increase that actuaries have predicted when analyzing similar legislation, will exacerbate existing patient access to care challenges in our healthcare system. Governor Hochul has twice vetoed legislation that would have expanded the types of damages awardable in wrongful death actions. Her veto message appropriately highlighted 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.

The legislation has been amended from earlier versions to reduce the retroactive applicability and to reduce the number of individuals that can bring these actions.  However, it does not change the fundamental nature of the new types of damages that would be awardable through this legislation, which was largely the basis for the 2022 actuarial study that concluded that this bill could produce a 40-45% increase in medical liability premiums.  Essentially, the amended bill has cosmetic changes but the massive adverse impact to our health care system remains the same.

Please urge your legislators to work for the enactment of comprehensive legislation to bring down these untenable costs instead of increasing them and exacerbating existing patient access to care issues.

(AUSTER)

Categories: PulsePublished On: May 17th, 2024Tags: , ,

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