Saturday, May 14, 2016

New York Bill Would Punish Clinicians Who Disregard Patient Directives




Assembly Member Gottfried

I was disappointed to see that A.B. 2140 has not advanced in the New York Assembly.  



New York and other states provide a safe harbor for physicians and health care providers who adhere in good faith to valid advance directives and patient decisions. However, many states, including New York, do not provide corresponding punishment provisions or specifically allow for the recovery of damages, when appropriate, for disregard of such valid directives. 



This is unfair to patients and family members who suffer as a result of having unwanted treatment provided, or not having wanted treatment provided. This bill will ensure that there may be remedies in appropriate cases. Additionally, providers should not he able to seek or recover payment for clearly expressed unwanted treatment. This bill will prohibit providers from seeking and obtaining payment for such unwanted treatment.



The bill would add Public Health Law Code section 2999-a-1.  This would authorize a judicial or administrative action or proceeding relating to a health care provider's failure or refusal to adhere to or accommodate a patient's patient health care decision.



Notably, the action or proceeding shall not be barred because the health care provider's failure or refusal to adhere to or accommodate a patient's health care decision (i) did not cause physical, mental, emotional, or economic injury to the patient or (ii) improved the physical, mental, or emotional condition of the patient.



A court may award damages for each day the health care provider's failure or refusal to adhere to or accommodate a patient's health care decision in the amount of two thousand dollars for each day or such other amount as the court may deem just.



No health care provider shall seek or accept payment or  reimbursement from or on behalf of the patient or a third-party payer for a health care service or treatment that is provided in the absence of or contrary to the patient's consent, unless it was authorized by law to be provided in the absence of or contrary to the patient's consent.


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