By Thomas B. Stebbins, Executive Director, Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York
For Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The looming threat of yet another Brooklyn hospital closing (Another Dying Brooklyn Hospital, July 23, 2013) is a sad reminder of just how broken New York’s medical liability system really is. The citizens of our state are continuing be held victim this downward spiral substantially limiting access to healthcare.
Last year alone New Yorkers paid $127 million to subsidize medical-malpractice insurance. Even with this subsidy, doctors across the state still pay astronomical amounts for insurance, some as high as $200,000 annually, far more than their counterparts in other states. These high costs are forcing facilities out of business and pushing our doctors out of New York to other states where measures have been put in place to help alleviate these cost.
Our state needs to pass true reforms to decrease the cost of medical liability insurance, increase the access to healthcare and stop closures of hospitals. We need strong evidentiary standards to weed out the frivolous cases which represent 30% of medical malpractice cases, according to a study at the Harvard School of Public Health. Further, our legislature needs to place caps on damages for “pain and suffering” as many other states have done. Finally, we need put in place stricter standards for medical “experts” who can testify at trial. Until these changes happen, the doors of our hospitals will continue to close for good.