This article was published in the June 25th issue of the Democrat & Chronicle in Rochester, NY.
Our regional healthcare system relied upon by our patients faces a potential disaster.
The New York State Legislature has again passed legislation (A.6698/S.6636) that would exponentially expand damages awardable in wrongful death lawsuits. This bill is very nearly the same as one that was—thankfully—vetoed by Governor Hochul last January.
The Governor must veto this new version as well.
We have great sympathy for the grieving families this legislation seeks to help. However, any legislation to expand costly lawsuits must be balanced to help to prevent the enormous adverse impact this bill would have on our health care system. Had this bill been signed into law, it would have made it even more difficult for our struggling community hospitals and medical practices to continue to provide needed patient care.
Proponents claim the new bill responds to the Governor’s veto. It most surely does not.
We just completed a State Budget where significant steps were taken to address the stability of our various community health care providers, particularly those providing needed care in our undeserved areas. Yet by imposing staggering new costs this legislation would undermine the positive steps in the State Budget to protect access to care.
Our regional healthcare safety net is already under significant duress even without having to absorb the extraordinary costs this bill would require. I urge the Governor to veto this new legislation, and work with the Legislature to adopt truly balanced legislation that expands the rights of grieving families, while protecting our healthcare safety net. To urge the Governor to veto the bill, please go here.
Dr. Hemant Kalia
President of the Monroe County Medical Society