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New York Malpractice Proposals Being Pushed by Hospitals

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently revealed his Medicaid Redesign Team's recommendations. These recommendations suggest redesigning not only Medicaid but also New York's tort law system. The Medicaid Redesign Team did propose several sweeping changes to Medicaid, but one of its most controversial recommendations was its suggestion to cap noneconomic (mainly pain and suffering) awards in medical malpractice cases at $250,000.

While this suggestion may startle some, it is not particularly surprising considering the makeup of the Medicaid Redesign Team. Of the 17 members of the team that are not state legislators, employees, or office holders, nine of them represent hospitals, health care systems, and health care workers. In fact, Medicaid patients every day. Governor Cuomo's inclusion of these private entities on a Medicaid advisory panel is a smart move.

However, when these corporations are allowed to suggest changes to tort law and these changes are then pushed by the governor as proposed legislation, their involvement takes on an entirely different character. Noticeably absent from this advisory board are any of the health care corporations' adversaries in the medical malpractice battle: the patients. Nor are any of the advisory board members experts on the legal system itself, such as judges. It would seem that a body that wants to change tort law should include some of these individuals.