New York to Join Other States with Caps?

Side Note: New York physicians pay some of the highest medical liability insurance rates in the country and something has to give. Will New York be the next state to join the coveted group of 35 states that currently have some sort of med mal insurance award caps? Could it be? If Governor Cuomo has his say, the answer would be “yes.” And, if New York’s hospitals have their way, the answer would also be “yes.”

Governor Cuomo has proposed that awards for pain and suffering in New York med mal cases be limited to $250,000 for physicians and hospitals. The New York hospital industry has predicted that such caps would cut their med mal insurance premiums by 25 percent. Doing this would allow them to better handle the additional Medicaid cuts also proposed by Governor Cuomo.

But the plan, of course, has its opponents. Many in favor of the New York liability award caps cite the success of California’s landmark med mal reform that took place in the 1970s as evidence of how the proposed New York med mal reform will work. And while many health care organizations site California’s tort reform as hugely successful and the “gold standard” for tort reform, like the American Medical Association, others against the New York med mal insurance award limits in the article below also cite California’s reform as evidence of how it will not have a significant effect. To them, the impact was not significant enough. To us, as physician advocates, anything that works positively to reduce New York liability premiums and med mal payouts is a good thing.

In an era of such a broken health care system, something needs to be done and we applaud any efforts working toward this goal. Medical malpractice reform is just one piece of the puzzle. If we can combine med mal reform with Medicare and Medicaid reform and health insurance reform, we just might have something.

Are you a New York physician looking to lower your New York med mal rates? If so, complete our no-cost, no-obligation quote request today.

Lessons for Albany on Malpractice Limits
By THOMAS KAPLAN
Published: March 24, 2011

ALBANY — As New York lawmakers strive to complete the state budget by April 1, one of the most contentious battles involves whether to include a cap on medical malpractice payments that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed with the support of the state’s hospital industry.

The measure would limit damages paid by doctors and hospitals for pain and suffering to $250,000, a ceiling that hospitals predict would reduce their insurance premiums by one-fourth and give them the savings necessary to blunt the pain of the sharp cuts in Medicaid spending that Mr. Cuomo has also proposed.

Original article is here.

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