Date of Discovery Bill Sent to Governor

12/29/2017 ACTION NEEDED NOW
The Legislature delivered to Governor Cuomo for his consideration, S.6800/A8516 DeFrancisco/Weinstein. Call Governor Cuomo today at 518-474-8390. Press 2 to speak to a representative and ask for the Veto of Date of Discovery Bill (S6800 De Francisco).

As you are aware, this legislation would change the statute of limitations for medical, dental, and podiatric malpractice from two and half years to the later of either: 1) two and a half years from the date an injured patient discovers or should have discovered the negligent failure to diagnose cancer or a malignant Tumor; or 2) the date of the last treatment where there is continuous treatment for the same illness, injury or condition which gave rise to the accrual of an action.

Facts:

• This bill will lead to increases in the cost of liability insurance.  

• New York State's medical liability environment is among the worst in the nation and was given a Grade of F by the American College of Emergency Physicians. New York has the highest number of malpractice award payments (6.1 per 100,000 people), a twelve-fold increase since 2009.

• Data published in 2014 (Diederich Healthcare) found that cumulative malpractice payouts in New York State are already the highest in the country ($689. 9 million), nearly two times greater than the State with the next highest amounts, Pennsylvania ($356.9 million), and far exceeding states such as California ($275 million) and Florida ($199.4 million). 

• Proponents of the legislation argue that many other states have incorporated "date of discovery" exceptions into their statutes of limitation. However, well over half of these states have enacted caps on non-economic damages in medical liability actions and those that do not cap damages have enacted other reforms which provide lower medical liability insurance premiums. 

• While many medical liability cases brought result in no payment, physicians who treat the most high-risk patients are sued on a frequent basis. For example, the Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Company spent over $800,000,000 in the previous decade to defend physicians and hospitals on whose behalf no payments were ever made to the plaintiffs.