Mandatory Reporting Laws in New York: Why Aren’t We Protecting Our Elderly Like We Protect Our Children?

By Jessica Coombs, Albany Government Law Review

       I.            Introduction

            All fifty states and the District of Columbia have Adult Protective Services (APS) agencies in place to investigate reports of elder abuse and provide vulnerable individuals and victims of abuse with protective services and treatment.[1]  APS was created by law to assist in the protection of impaired adults age eighteen and over.[2]  Nearly every county has its own APS unit which is maintained by that county’s Department of Social Services.[3]  In New York, APS units offer numerous services including investigation and assessment of the adult’s needs, advocacy and case management, legal interventions, counseling for the victim and their family, and emergency living arrangements.[4]

            The services provided by APS have the potential to help many victims; however, they are not implicated until APS has been notified of a potential case.[5]  The lack of a mandated reporting system in the state of New York hinders APS’s ability to help victims who may not be able to seek help themselves.  “Mandatory reporting statutes require individuals to report certain injuries or cases of abuse or neglect to law enforcement, social services, and/or a regulatory agency.”[6]  Every jurisdiction has different statutes regarding which types of abuse must be reported, and who is required to report the abuse.[7]  New York has no such mandatory reporting requirement.

Continue reading “Mandatory Reporting Laws in New York: Why Aren’t We Protecting Our Elderly Like We Protect Our Children?”

External Appeal in New York; Are Recent Changes Enough?

By Hunter Raines, Albany Government Law Review

New York’s external appeal legislation, giving patients and health care providers a right to an external appeal of health plan adverse coverage determinations, has been invaluable in improving the patient’s access to care while protecting the provider’s right to adequate reimbursement for health care services.  However, changes enacted in July 2011 measurably impact the operation of this statutory creature, which merits examination and review of the process as it currently stands.[1]

In the early 1990s, the rising costs of health care inspired a new insurance model closely tied to the concept of strict care management.[2]  By strictly managing consumer options, health care costs were constrained.[3]  However, this model encumbered access to needed health care for many.[4]  New York’s Managed Care Reform Act, signed by Governor Pataki in 1996, provided new protection for New York consumers in the health insurance market.[5]  Since the passage of the act, consumers now have the right to obtain a description of services and procedures covered by their health plan, the right to an explanation of the patient’s financial responsibility for such procedures and services and the right to appeal adverse coverage determinations.[6]  These legislative protections are far reaching, applying to most health plans excluding those which are self-funded or otherwise subject to ERISA, which is beyond the scope of this article.[7] Continue reading “External Appeal in New York; Are Recent Changes Enough?”

Medical Malpractice Cases: The Pros & Cons of a Cap on Non-Economic Damages

By Alicia M. Dodge, Albany Government Law Review Class of 2011

Introduction:                        

Is a $250,000.00 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases necessary?  The answer to this question will vary widely, depending whom you ask.  The New York State Bar Association and patient-rights advocacy groups strongly oppose this cap, while hospitals and physicians generally support it.[1]  The purpose of an economic damages award, such as loss of earnings, is to make an injured person “whole” again, and can generally be calculated with a fair amount of certainty.  On the other hand, an award of non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering or loss of consortium, “cannot be precisely measured in money,” and as such are often viewed as arbitrary rewards.[2]   Continue reading “Medical Malpractice Cases: The Pros & Cons of a Cap on Non-Economic Damages”

Taking a Closer Look at New York’s Family Health Care Decisions Act

Alicia M. Dodge, Albany Government Law Review Member

I.  Introduction

On March 16, 2010, the former New York State Governor Paterson signed into law New York’s Family Health Care Decisions Act (FHCDA), effective June 1, 2010.[1]  Through the enactment of the FHCDA, New York became the forty-ninth state to pass a “surrogate decision-making statute.”[2]  The FHCDA sets forth a list of persons who are deemed authorized to make health care decisions, including the decision to terminate life support for a patient without a health care proxy, who now lacks the capacity to make health care decisions.[3]  Prior to the enactment of the FHCDA, New York State law regarding end-of-life decision-making was well-established, and had been relatively uniform for the past twenty-five years.[4]  With the passage of the FHCDA, the precedent was greatly changed.

Continue reading “Taking a Closer Look at New York’s Family Health Care Decisions Act”