Lavern’s Law Now Lengthens the Time to Bring Cancer Med Mal Claims in New York State
Learning Objectives and CME/Disclosure Information
This activity is intended for healthcare providers delivering care to women and their families.
After completing this activity, the participant should be better able to:
1. Recall that laws and statutes relating to the time for claims of medical malpractice may vary from state to state 2. List the key time points during cancer care, where a missed opportunity for diagnosis may occur
Estimated time to complete activity: 0.25 hours
Ashley Comfort, MD, FACOG is the Director of Medical Content, ObG Project.
Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest
Postgraduate Institute for Medicine (PIM) requires faculty, planners, and others in control of educational content to disclose all their financial relationships with ineligible companies. All identified conflicts of interest (COI) are thoroughly vetted and mitigated according to PIM policy. PIM is committed to providing its learners with high quality accredited continuing education activities and related materials that promote improvements or quality in healthcare and not a specific proprietary business interest of an ineligible company.
The PIM planners and others have nothing to disclose. The OBG Project planners and others have nothing to disclose.
Faculty: Ashley Comfort, MD, has a financial interest in Pfizer and has no other conflicts of interest to disclose.
Planners and Managers: The PIM planners and managers, Trace Hutchison, PharmD, Samantha Mattiucci, PharmD, CHCP, Judi Smelker-Mitchek, MBA, MSN, RN, and Jan Schultz, MSN, RN, CHCP have nothing to disclose.
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Fees for participating and receiving CME credit for this activity are as posted on The ObG Project website. During the period from March 4 2018 through 07/15/2022, participants must read the learning objectives and faculty disclosures and study the educational activity.
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On January 31, 2018, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York announced that he and the state legislature had come to terms on a bill covering a misdiagnosis of cancer. The bill, which became law, allows for a 2 1/2-year window for a patient to bring malpractice cases involving a cancer misdiagnosis. The law stipulates that the negligence cannot have occurred more than seven years prior to a suit being filed. Previously, the clock for medical malpractice involving cancer misdiagnosis started when the misdiagnosis occurred— meaning patients were not able to bring claims if they discovered a potential medical error after the window closed. Included in the law is a provision for people whose statute of limitations ran out in the last 10 months to get an additional six-month window to sue.
There are multiple opportunities to address ‘missed opportunities’ when it comes to cancer diagnoses and treatment. As Lyratzopoulos and colleagues (British Journal of Cancer, 2015) note, while not all such ‘missed opportunities’ will result in lesser outcomes for patients, all preventable delays should be avoided wherever possible. The authors point to 3 crucial time points where ‘missed opportunities’ may occur:
Initial diagnostic assessment
During the first (usually primary care) encounter, which entails the initial screening, testing and decision making regarding waiting vs referral
Diagnostic test performance and interpretation
The process of obtaining, performing and interpreting appropriate diagnostic tests, which can include blood work, imaging or more invasive measures
Diagnostic follow-up and coordination
The authors define this phase as those activities that are necessary to ‘close the loop’ on patient assessment and care
There are often multiple reasons for failure to make a cancer diagnosis which can be related to patient, provider and system factors and can happen at any of the above time points. Lyratzopoulos et al. note that a multi-disciplinary approach is required to have an effect on missed diagnoses:
As is the case for safety interventions in general, identification of instances where missed opportunities have occurred is a pre-requisite for motivating and guiding organisational learning and improvement efforts and service redesign.
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This educational activity may contain discussion of published and/or investigational uses of agents that are not indicated by the FDA. The planners of this activity do not recommend the use of any agent outside of the labeled indications.
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