The Center for Justice and Democracy
Consumer Groups Assail New York State Health Dept.
CONSUMER GROUPS ASSAIL NEW YORK STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT FOR ENDORSING CLOSED PROCESS RECOMMENDING ANTI-PATIENT MEASURES
Once again, New York State state health officials have demonstrated remarkable bias by denying consumer groups a seat at the table and then endorsing anti-patient recommendations of the New York State Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME), according to CURE-NY, a coalition of New York State consumer and patient groups. While supporting effective recommendations to provide opportunities for doctors to practice in underserved areas, the groups called on the state Department of Health (DOH) to stop recommending proposals that are anti-patient, anti-consumer and unsafe, and start giving consumer and patient groups the chance to provide meaningful input.
According to a March 25 DOH press release, at its direction, “COGME established five working groups, consulted with a diverse group of health care experts and deliberated as a full Council to develop … proposals to improve New York's Graduate Medical Education system.” According to CURE-NY, consumer groups were completely left out of this process. For reasons that are unclear, COGME has made recommendations that have nothing to do with education, but rather, include support for “medical liability reforms,” which typically take away patients’ rights and weaken patient safety, and are pushed by state medical and insurance lobbies.
Art Levin, Director of the Center for Medical Consumers, said, “I cannot fathom the gratuitous inclusion of medical malpractice issues in COGME solutions. If anything, what they should have done is require meaningful safety training in all Graduate Medical Education programs in New York State.”
This development comes on the heels of a March 24 letter to Governor Paterson signed by a number of state consumer and patients groups expressing “concerns about the openness and transparency of the medical malpractice review that Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo and Health Commissioner Richard Daines conducted during the previous administration.” The groups said they are “gravely concerned that any recommendations that are the product of such process will not serve the public interest.”
“The state health department needs to stop pursuing the agenda of the medical lobbies to weaken patients’ legal rights,” said John Guyette of CURE-NY. “By deliberately excluding public interest organizations from the COGME process, DOH is once again indicating a commitment to shield the health care industry from accountability, rather than ensuring patient safety.”
Consumers United for Reform and Education (CURE-NY) is a statewide coalition of consumer advocacy and patient safety organizations working to reduce the incidence of deaths and injury arising from medical error and to protect the rights of the victims of medical negligence. CURE-NY opposes use of state Medicaid money to subsidize medical malpractice; supports stronger disciplining of bad doctors to prevent the worst practitioners from preying upon innocent New Yorkers; and supports regulatory and legislative changes, such as rating doctors based on their safety track record, to protect consumers and reduce costs for good doctors.
ANIBIC (The Association for Neurological Impaired Brain Injured Children, Inc.)
Caribbean Women’s Health Care Association
Center for Justice & Democracy
Center for Medical Consumers
Citizen Action of New York
Disabled in Action
Empire State Consumer Association
Harlem Consumer Education Council
Headway of Western New York, Inc.
LIAAC (Long Island Association for AIDS Care, Inc.)
NYPIRG (New York Public Interest Research Group)
PULSE of New York
WESPAC Foundation (Westchester People's Action Coalition)
April 1, 2008