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Letter: Bill will not repair malpractice system

Bill will not repair malpractice system

Catholic Health is greatly concerned about the proposed medical malpractice bill (S.911, A.285), which would extend the statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits.

While patients who are the victims of malpractice deserve justice and fair compensation, this proposed law does nothing to further those goals. In fact, it would have negative consequences for our entire health care system.

New York already has one of the longest statute of limitations for malpractice actions in the country, with important exceptions for children and patients undergoing continued treatment. At a time when health care providers, payers and the government are trying to control rising health care costs, this bill would increase already skyrocketing medical malpractice costs, which would divert resources from investments designed to improve patient care and safety, and may impede access to care for patients.

The proposed legislation allows a new suit to be filed up to 10 years after the last treatment/service.

As time for a claim increases, the opportunity to present a fair and well-documented defense significantly decreases. Resurrecting old records, finding providers and locating old equipment would be extremely costly and burdensome.

The rising cost of medical malpractice insurance is already creating a shortage of specialized physicians in Western New York. This bill will raise already expensive insurance premiums to new heights that may cripple struggling hospitals and physician practices, eventually restricting vital medical services in our community.

This proposed legislation is the wrong approach to fix New York’s medical malpractice system. We urge the State Legislature to consider meaningful and balanced medical malpractice reform that will strengthen New York’s health care system and not a piecemeal approach that does little to address underlying fundamental problems.

Joe McDonald

President and CEO

Catholic Health