Legislative Session Mixed Bag for Future of Healthcare in New York

 

For Immediate Release 
June 6, 2022 

 

Legislative Session Mixed Bag for Future of Healthcare in New York

 

Statement Attributable to:
Parag Mehta, MD
President, Medical Society of the State of New York 

“This year’s legislative session was a mixed bag for the future of health care in New York.

“Importantly, the Medical Society applauds the Legislature for passing crucial measures that will, if signed into law by Governor Hochul, help reduce excessive hassles our patients experience in seeking to obtain needed health care treatment and prescription medications. These include bills that: eliminate health insurer-imposed “fail first” requirements for medications to treat patient mental health conditions; ensure patients can realize the full benefit of discount programs to meet their out of pocket maximum insurance requirements; reduce to 45 the age when health insurers must cover recommended essential colorectal cancer screening tests; and ensure that health insurers may not deny needed patient care unless the treatment is reviewed by a physician trained in the same or similar specialty as the physician providing patient care.

“The Legislature also took important steps to protect physicians and other health care providers from legal repercussions that could occur in New York if they were to provide essential reproductive health care services to patients in other states that could become illegal there but are safe and legal in New York.  And we are hopeful that measures being signed into law today by Governor Hochul will help to prevent future gun violence tragedies in our State.

“However, we are concerned by the huge adverse consequences to our health care system by legislation that passed both Houses that would greatly expand damages in ‘wrongful death’ actions.  While it is certainly appropriate to evaluate and determine the most responsible way to address gaps in New York’s liability laws, the enormous increase in liability costs that this legislation would necessitate is completely untenable without steps to control our existing runaway liability costs, particularly at a time when New York’s physicians and hospitals are struggling to recover from the pandemic. Because New York’s physicians and hospitals already have by far and away the highest liability costs in the country, New York was again named one of the worst states in the country to be a doctor: Best & Worst States for Doctors (wallethub.com).

“Furthermore, we are concerned that the new ‘wrongful death’ legislation would, over the next several years, force there to be a significant increase for New York’s already underfunded Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance program, which currently requires a State Budget investment of over $100 million each fiscal year to retain physicians in practice in New York.  Unless this legislation is vetoed, we may face a significant number of medical students and residents leaving the state after they complete their training in New York and established physicians fleeing New York for more welcoming states to doctors, or into early retirement, at the expense of the patients who rely upon them.

“Comprehensive reform remains essential, not one-sided measures.”

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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
Communications / Marketing
Medical Society of the State of New York
865 Merrick Ave.
Westbury, New York
516-488-6100 ext 302
rraia@mssny.org