A coalition of 75 New York hospitals warned that a recent ruling by the state's highest court could send medical malpractice insurance premiums soaring and called on the state Legislature to clarify the malpractice law before adjourning for summer. At issue is an April 8 decision by the New York State Court of Appeals in the case of Desiderio v. Ochs. The court upheld a lower court's interpretation of a judgment law that increased the jury award for future medical expenses to $140 million from $40 million by accounting for inflation twice, the coalition said. In rendering its decision, the appeals court asked the Legislature to clarify the 1986 law, originally designed to moderate malpractice insurance premiums. Until now, New York healthcare leaders have been relatively quiet as debate rages nationally over increasing medical malpractice insurance costs. -- by Cinda Becker
N.Y. hospitals alarmed by malpractice-law ruling
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