March 11, 2011
Dear Elected Official:
New York Hospital Queens along with all other hospitals and providers in New York State are making tremendous sacrifices in the Medicaid Reform Team (MRT) agreement. On top of the $50 million of government imposed rate reductions in the past four years, the proposed cuts / taxes would mean an additional $6 million over the next year for New York Hospital Queens, alone.
The health care industry has agreed with the proposed trend and uniform percentage reductions. We want the proposals by the MRT accepted in full with the proposed medical malpractice reform. It is essential that the “med-mal” proposal contain both key elements: a cap on non-economic damages; and establishment of a medical indemnity fund for neurologically-impaired newborns. It is important to keep in mind that without the malpractice reform the MRT proposals will be inadequate.
A recent article found that improved methods of clinical practice in obstetrics and gynecology reduced the risk of possible adverse outcomes during childbirth. Linking the findings of this study should not be used in lieu of enacting the serious program reform proposed by the Governor. The effort to use research as an alternative to enacting malpractice reform is a smoke screen. The authors of that research have stated general conclusions cannot be drawn at this point.
New York Hospital Queens agrees that real reform requires a continued commitment to patient safety, together with significant and immediate changes to our current system. It is important for the Legislators to understand that implementing a similar program would cost New York Hospital Queens several million on top of the additional significant cuts / taxes. Few hospitals, especially in New York, have the margin capital to create the program cited in the study and they simply cannot afford to implement it.
These medical malpractice reforms and the associated savings for hospitals and physicians are critically important to the ability of New York’s health care system to endure not only the relentless Medicaid cuts / taxes it has absorbed in the last several years, but also the significant cuts in the current budget proposal.
Healthcare needs to have comprehensive med-mal reform and the obstetrical reform is only the beginning of true reform. We urge the Legislature to enact this program.
Stephen S. Mills
President and Chief Executive Officer