Survey: 2010 Health Law

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Kirsten Lerch and Edward McArdle provide an update on Health Law in the state of New York between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010.

At the federal level, historic health legislation reform that should provide access to affordable and comprehensive health insurance coverage for practically all Americans—but carries with it the controversial individual mandate to be covered by health insurance—topped the significant health care developments this survey year. Also at the federal level, an expansion in Medicare lien reporting
requirements applicable to attorneys who bring or who defend personal injury lawsuits, and President Obama’s Executive Order directing equal visitation rights for same sex partners of hospitalized patients, are
discussed in this Article.

At the state level, the Family Health Care Decisions Act, which provides family members with legal authority to make medical treatment decisions for incapacitated patients who never executed a health care proxy or otherwise made their wishes known, was finally enacted into law after nearly twenty years of legislative logjam. Also becoming law was the Midwifery Modernization Act, which expanded the practice of midwifery by removing the requirement that a midwife have an agreement with a physician in order to engage in the profession.

In state courts, the Court of Appeals took on the difficult issue of inmate access to life-sustaining but experimental medical treatment that is available to non-incarcerated New Yorkers. Lower New York courts also took on novel issues related to the confidentiality of quality assurance and peer review process in hospitals and the duty of health care providers to the spouses of their patients for exposing the spouse to a sexually transmitted disease.

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Kristen Lerch is an Associate with Gale, Gale & Hunt, LLC, J.D., State University of New York at Buffalo; B.A., State University of New York College at Geneseo.

Mr. McArdle is an adjunct professor at Syracuse University and is employed as a government attorney; J.D., Albany Law School; B.A., Siena College.

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