According to Capitol Confidential , a budget agreement has been reached in Albany, and it does not include caps on medical malpractice awards. As many of you know, the Medicaid Redesign Team had proposed a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages, which would have unfairly impacted children, the elderly, the unemployed and under-employed.
No word yet on whether the Neurologically Impaired Infant Fund remains part of the budget. I hope not, since, among other things, nobody from the MRT has even been able to fully articulate where the money for such a fund would come from. Moreover, if compensation to a neurologically impaired infant is made through an administrative board instead of the courts, there will be little motivation for hospitals and individual physicians to focus on patient safety improvements. And, ironically, this “cost-saving” measure would simply shift the financial burden for a lifetime of care from those who caused the injuries, i.e. negligent doctors, to state taxpayers, who will ultimately be taxed when these infants are forced to turn to Medicaid.
But good news is good news. Medical consumers have won something today.