Legislative Action Alert: New York State Medical Indemnity Fund

Patient Safety

In 2011 Governor Cuomo and the Legislature established the New York State Medical Indemnity Fund. The fund was intended to provide for future health care costs associated with birth-related neurological injuries arising out of medical malpractice and to lower the cost of medical malpractice to the health care system.

While the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers and consumer advocates fought bitterly against the fund, arguing that it would deprive the most vulnerable victims of medical negligence of proper care and compensation, the Medicaid Redesign Team included the fund as a key component of its proposals. The Academy, along with leading consumer advocates, warned lawmakers that the fund represented a slippery slope where the quality of care would continue to deteriorate for the unfortunate children consigned to the fund’s bureaucracy.

The NYS Department of Health is now proposing new regulations that would further hurt the most vulnerable victims of medical negligence.  But you can help stop this ill-conceived plan by clicking HERE. 

In April 20th, the Department of Health issued proposed new regulations for the fund.  The regulations would result in:

Families facing great difficulty in modifying their homes to suit the needs of their child, even if these modifications have been approved by a court. The proposed regulations exclude from allowable environmental modifications any construction that adds square footage to an existing home; renovation of existing rooms or construction of new rooms within the existing home for the purpose of providing therapy, training, education, or storage; and the purchase, installation, repair, modification or maintenance of elevators, intercom systems, fencing, home security systems or security gates.

Restrictive limitations on accessing technology to assist in daily living. The regulations would strictly limit coverage only to items that are essential for the enrollee’s activities of daily living or safety. Any item intended for recreational or therapeutic purposes is specifically excluded from coverage. Thus technology necessary for one’s therapy would no longer be permitted, even if specifically approved by a court or jury, and families will no longer be able to access online speech and occupational therapy.  This change will significantly restrict delivery of therapy services to children in underserved areas
and the pre-approval process will require assessment of need by a third party even when a therapy has been prescribed by a treating physician.

But there is still time to act by clicking HERE.  The proposed regulations are still in the public comment period. The Academy has submitted formal comments on the proposed regulations. You can access the Academy’s comments by clicking here. Take action today. You can tell the Department of Health to withdraw these ill-conceived proposals and ask your state legislators to contact the Department of Health as well.


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