In an effort to bring 2011-2012 Medicaid costs down without hurting New York’s healthcare, Governor Andrew Cuomo created a Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) and assigned 23 representatives from the healthcare sector to brainstorm their ideas.
“No patients’ rights representatives were invited to participate in the process, which could be a red flag,” indicated a Lawyer.
He explained that 274 proposals were reviewed by the MRT, which included placing a $250,000 cap on pain and suffering in medical malpractice lawsuits (#131), as well creating a neurologically impaired infant fund (NII). Proposal #131 was favored by the Governor’s Office despite the fact that it will likely deny injured patients and their family’s access to real justice.
Allegedly, the New York State Bar Association, the oldest and largest voluntary state bar association in the nation, tried to no avail to work with the MRT.
“The MRT sped up its efforts by submitting proposals several days before the March 1, 2011 deadline which, in effect, diminished any meaningful input into the process,” said a frustrated doctor.
He went on to say, “I marshal the evidence for a jury or a judge and try to argue my case from the evidence. In that regard, and from that perspective, looking at proposal #131, the evidence is lacking. The fact that there is no evidence before you in support of #131 is not surprising given the process that was followed.”
Rather than arguing publicly, the voting MRT members sat “(I) n the privacy of their office or their homes . . . with a clicker – a mouse – and ranked each of the proposals . . . They certainly did not have someone appear in front of them and explain how difficult it is to bring a successful malpractice case. There is this notion out there that it is simple. That all you have to do is find someone that has a complaint and then the dollars flow. The truth, the reality, is so far from that. The way we screen cases – you may accept 3 cases out of 20. And then you have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on those cases. So, when we do this, when we represent someone who has been injured, we don’t do it lightly. We invest an enormous amount of time and money and energy. And we end up representing people who have genuine injuries,” the Lawyers in Manhattan and Queens related.
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