20 Jul Pending Grieving Families Act Could Have An Enormous Impact on New York Physicians
On June 2, 2022, the Grieving Families Act, also known as Senate Bill S74A, passed the New York Senate Assembly and is currently awaiting a final signature from Governor Kathy Hochul. The Grieving Families Act would expand the number of eligible close family members who can bring a wrongful death case, and substantially increase the monetary sum potentially awarded in a wrongful death action. It would also expand the types of damages (focusing on the emotional and mental loss), and increase the statute of limitations to file a claim to three and-a-half years from two.
This bill has enormous implications for New York healthcare providers. Experts warn that passing this bill could result in an estimated 40% increase in New York medical professional liability insurance premiums. In an industry still trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, huge increases in medical liability insurance premiums and payouts would be a hard hit for physicians and insurance providers – in the state that already has the highest medical liability insurance costs in the country. In an actuarial report by Milliman, the company estimates “an overall $2.09 billion or 12.6% increase to annual loss and loss adjustment expenses in New York.”
Currently New York is one of three states, along with Delaware and Alabama, that do not allow wrongful death claims for the loss of a relationship with a loved one and does not recognize claims for the resulting grief or mental anguish from the death of a loved one. Supporters of the bill argue including these types of damages will bring New York up to speed, but others say New York does not have a medical liability cap on pain and suffering damages like other U.S. states, which leaves providers much more vulnerable.
Many insurance carriers are urging Governor Hochul to veto the bill, citing the immense economic impact this could have on the medical community.
Governor Hochul is expected to make a decision soon. For more immediate updates, click here.
Phalanx Healthcare Solutions, an Alera Group Company, is a New York based medical malpractice insurance consultant specializing in insurance and reinsurance solutions for physicians, physician organizations, and healthcare systems. For more information, visit our web site at www.phalanxllc.com.