senate Bill S578

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Requires hospital incident reports to be simultaneously provided to the affected patients and/or their legal representatives

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to judiciary
Jan 09, 2013 referred to judiciary

Co-Sponsors

S578 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A2138
Current Committee:
Senate Judiciary
Law Section:
Civil Practice Law and Rules
Laws Affected:
Amd §214-a, CPLR; amd §2805-l, Pub Health L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S1982A, A4909A
2009-2010: A9114

S578 - Bill Texts

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Requires general hospital which submits an incident report to the department of health to simultaneously provide a copy of such report to the affected patients and/ or their legal representatives; stays the statute of limitations for medical, dental and podiatric malpractice causes of action until one year after an incident report is submitted.

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BILL NUMBER:S578

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the civil practice law and rules and the public health law, in
relation to the provision of hospital incident reports to the affected
patients or their representatives

PURPOSE:
This bill would provide extend the statute of limitations in medical,
dental or podiatric malpractice actions against a hospital where the
hospital has violated section 2805-1 of the public health law by
failing to file an incident report as mandated by that section. It
also requires such reports to be sent to the patient and their
representative.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 2 - tolls the statute of limitations in a medical, dental or
podiatric malpractice action so that where there is a failure by a
hospital to file an incident report as mandated by the public health
law, a plaintiff has a year from the date of filing of such report in
which to commence an action.

In addition, it tolls the statute limitations in a medical, dental or
podiatric malpractice action so that where an action is time-barred
against an individual health care service provider, an action may
still be commenced against a hospital where either the individual or
the hospital has failed to file an incident report as mandated by the
public health law, a plaintiff has a year from the date of filing of
such report in which to commence an action.

Section 3 - requires incident reports submitted to the Department of
Health under section 2805-1 of the public health law also be sent to
the patient and their representative.

Section 4 - effective date.

JUSTIFICATION:
Despite having been a requirement for over twenty years, there are
abundant reports of hospitals failing to file incident reports as
mandated by the public health law. These incident reports are
required in order to give the Department of Health notice that a
significant incident has occurred, such as a patient death under
circumstances other than as a result of the course of disease, injury
or proper treatment. It also includes situations that harmed
patients, such as fires, equipment malfunctions, or poisonings.
According to a Harvard study, over 1,000 New Yorkers die each year as
a result of preventable medical errors. Clearly, these reports are a
significant tool that should be used to prevent the recurrence of
harm or death to patients.

Yet by failing to timely file such reports, hospitals are preventing
the Department of Health from asserting its authority to make sure
the public is adequately protected in the case of substandard patient
care of hospital environment.


Furthermore, the law fails to permit notification to those most
directly affected by such unfortunate events-the patient themselves,
as well. As family or others who are designated to help make crucial
decisions for the patient. By tolling the statute of limitations on
malpractice actions against
hospitals, such institutions are incentivized to obey the clear letter
of the law. Furthermore, hospitals will not be able to protect
themselves from liability for their harmful actions simply by
ignoring the law, and thereby further harming the patient in question
first by whatever action led to the requirement of filing the
incident report, then again by not filing the report, thus preventing
the patient or their representative from accessing information that
could help them recover damages for their death or injury.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2012: Senate Bill
1992-A (Gianaris) - Died in Senate Judiciary
Committee
2012: Assembly Bill
4900-A (Simotas)- Died in Assembly Codes
Committee
2010: Assembly Bill
9114 (Gianaris) - Died in Assembly Codes
Committee

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
Immediately.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                   578

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sen. GIANARIS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary

AN ACT to amend the civil practice law and rules and the  public  health
  law,  in relation to the provision of hospital incident reports to the
  affected patients or their representatives

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  Short  title. This act shall be known and may be cited as
the "patient sunlight act".
  S 2. Section 214-a of the civil practice law and rules, as amended  by
chapter 485 of the laws of 1986, is amended to read as follows:
  S  214-a.  Action  for  medical, dental or podiatric malpractice to be
commenced within two years and six months; exceptions. 1. An action  for
medical,  dental  or  podiatric malpractice must be commenced within two
years and six months of the act, omission or failure  complained  of  or
last treatment where there is continuous treatment for the same illness,
injury  or  condition which gave rise to the said act, omission or fail-
ure[; provided, however, that where].
  2. (A) NOTWITHSTANDING THE  PROVISIONS  OF  SUBDIVISION  ONE  OF  THIS
SECTION, AN ACTION FOR MEDICAL, DENTAL OR PODIATRIC MALPRACTICE NEED NOT
BE  COMMENCED  WITHIN  TWO  YEARS AND SIX MONTHS OF THE ACT, OMISSION OR
FAILURE COMPLAINED OF OR LAST TREATMENT WHERE THERE IS CONTINUOUS TREAT-
MENT FOR THE SAME ILLNESS, INJURY OR CONDITION WHICH GAVE RISE  TO  SAID
ACT,  OMISSION  OR  FAILURE,  IF THE DEFENDANT IS A GENERAL HOSPITAL, AS
DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION TEN OF SECTION TWENTY-EIGHT HUNDRED  ONE  OF  THE
PUBLIC  HEALTH  LAW,  AND  HAS  FAILED  TO  FILE  AN INCIDENT REPORT, AS
REQUIRED  BY  SECTION  TWENTY-EIGHT  HUNDRED  FIVE-L  OF  SUCH  LAW,  IN
CONNECTION  WITH  THE  INCIDENT  THAT  IS THE SUBJECT OF THE MALPRACTICE
ACTION. IN SUCH CASE, THE ACTION MAY BE COMMENCED WITHIN ONE YEAR OF THE
DATE SUCH INCIDENT REPORT IS FILED.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD01528-01-3

S. 578                              2

  (B) NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION,
AN ACTION FOR MEDICAL, DENTAL  OR  PODIATRIC  MALPRACTICE  NEED  NOT  BE
COMMENCED  WITHIN TWO YEARS AND SIX MONTHS OF THE ACT, OMISSION OR FAIL-
URE COMPLAINED OF OR LAST TREATMENT WHERE THERE IS CONTINUOUS  TREATMENT
FOR  THE  SAME ILLNESS, INJURY OR CONDITION WHICH GAVE RISE TO SAID ACT,
OMISSION OR FAILURE, WHERE SUCH ACTION IS AGAINST A GENERAL HOSPITAL, AS
DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION TEN OF SECTION TWENTY-EIGHT HUNDRED  ONE  OF  THE
PUBLIC HEALTH LAW, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER SUCH ACTION IS OTHERWISE BARRED
BY  SUBDIVISION  ONE OF THIS SECTION AGAINST ANY PERSON LICENSED, CERTI-
FIED OR REGISTERED PURSUANT TO TITLE EIGHT OF THE EDUCATION  LAW,  WHERE
SUCH  INDIVIDUAL  OR  GENERAL  HOSPITAL  HAS  FAILED TO FILE AN INCIDENT
REPORT, AS REQUIRED BY SECTION TWENTY-EIGHT HUNDRED FIVE-L OF SUCH  LAW,
IN  CONNECTION  WITH THE INCIDENT THAT IS THE SUBJECT OF THE MALPRACTICE
ACTION. IN SUCH CASE, THE ACTION MAY BE COMMENCED WITHIN ONE YEAR OF THE
DATE SUCH INCIDENT REPORT IS FILED.
  3.  WHERE the action is based upon the discovery of a  foreign  object
in  the body of the patient, the action may be commenced within one year
of the date of such discovery or of the date of discovery of facts which
would reasonably lead to such discovery, whichever is earlier.  For  the
purpose  of  this  section  the  term  "continuous  treatment" shall not
include examinations undertaken at the request of the  patient  for  the
sole  purpose  of ascertaining the state of the patient's condition. For
the purpose of this section the term "foreign object" shall not  include
a chemical compound, fixation device or prosthetic aid or device.
  S  3.  Section  2805-l of the public health law is amended by adding a
new subdivision 2-a to read as follows:
  2-A.  NOTWITHSTANDING ANY PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY, COPIES  OF
ANY  REPORTS  SUBMITTED TO THE DEPARTMENT PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION SHALL
SIMULTANEOUSLY BE PROVIDED TO:
  (A) THE PATIENT OR PATIENTS WHO WERE AFFECTED IN SUCH A MANNER  AS  TO
REQUIRE THE SUBMISSION OF SUCH INCIDENT REPORT;
  (B)  IN  THE  EVENT  SUCH A PATIENT IS DECEASED OR INCAPACITATED, SUCH
REPORT SHALL BE PROVIDED TO THE PATIENT'S LEGAL  REPRESENTATIVE  OR  THE
LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PATIENT'S ESTATE; AND
  (C)  THE  PERSONS,  FAMILY OR OTHER PARTY IDENTIFIED IN THE HOSPITAL'S
RECORDS AS THE PARTY OR PARTIES DESIGNATED BY SUCH PATIENT FOR NOTIFICA-
TION OR CONSULTATION IN THE EVENT OF THE PATIENT'S INCAPACITY OR DEATH.
  S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.

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