Cuomo Medicaid team continues after ethics claim

Associated Press
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A proposal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Medicaid task force to overhaul the expensive government health care system is now backed by the Medical Society of New York and being pushed to passage in the Legislature.

The team continues to push for passage of its recommendations in the Legislature without change after an ethics complaint was lodged against it.

Joanne Doroshow of the Center for Justice and Democracy made the claim that hospital executives appointed to the board had a conflict when the board capped malpractice awards. That will save hospitals hundreds of millions of dollars, but she said it will cut short the funds needed by survivors and families of patients hurt by malpractice for lifelong care and assistance.

Doroshow said the "attacks" by the Cuomo administration raise more questions about the role of hospitals and the health care industry in crafting proposals to redesign New York's $50 billion Medicaid system that funds hospitals and other providers.

"Nothing squeals quite like a corporate pig in an ethics poke — or in this case, medical industrial complex members with a direct financial interest in the Medicaid Redesign Team," she said.

She cited specific sections of state law that she says shows the board members were legally considered public officials and must not have "any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect" in conflict with their duty. She also cited a 1998 state Ethics Commission advisory opinion stated even advisory board members "must avoid a conflict between their private interests and their public duties."

For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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