Talk Studio: New York Healthcare Laws Signed and Vetoed by Governor Hochul

In this episode of Talk Studio, MLMIC attorneys Nancy May-Skinner, Esq., and Marc Craw, Esq., discuss recent actions taken by Governor Kathy Hochul on New York State legislative measures related to pre-judgment interest, comprehensive insurance disclosure and hearsay. New bills signed into law by the Governor took effect December 31, 2021.

Specifically, Craw notes Governor Hochul’s veto of Assembly Bill A2199 as “good news” for MLMIC policyholders. He says the bill, which pertains to awarding pre-judgment interest (currently 9%) to plaintiffs, would have “eroded a very important protection for our defendants.” Instead, says Craw, “This bill was vetoed by the Governor, and she really noted very strongly how it would impose unwarranted and excessive costs on hospitals, local governments and state governments.”

Other news from the legislative update was more of a “mixed bag,” as Craw and May-Skinner discuss. This includes a bill on comprehensive insurance disclosure that increases the burden on defendants and insurance companies regarding the type and scope of information they must provide in litigation. Even though it passed both houses of the Legislature and was signed into law by the Governor, the Governor worked out an agreement with the Legislature for introduction of a Chapter Amendment that may narrow its focus. MLMIC is, as Craw says, “cautiously optimistic” about an expedited amendment to this new healthcare law.

Craw and May-Skinner also bring to policyholder attention the impact of Senate Bill S7093, which Governor Hochul signed into law, expanding the hearsay rule related to admissibility of statements by an employee against their employer’s interest. MLMIC encourages policyholders to advise employees about the legislation. For example, May-Skinner says, it’s important to make all employees aware of what they say to patients, since it may be considered (in litigation) as something the hospital said.

In addition, this Talk Studio episode includes information on two key agenda items Governor Hochul discussed in her recent State of the State address, which Craw attended. One could potentially allocate $10 billion in the State budget to enhance the State’s healthcare workforce to combat staffing shortages, and the second is a proposal to have New York join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.