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State Will Pay Medical Bills For Brain-Injured Newborns

By Dave Lucas


Albany, NY – The medical bills of newborns who suffer brain injuries during birth will now be paid by New York State. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

A new "neurological fund" created in New York State's new budget covers babies who experience an injury to the brain or spinal cord "caused by the deprivation of oxygen or mechanical injury in the course of labor, delivery or resuscitation or by other medical services provided or not provided during delivery admission" - Families still must file lawsuits and prove medical negligence in court. Patient advocates fear the fund will result in difficulties for parents. Families that win or settle lawsuits would be enrolled into the fund. Hospital Associations say the new fund will save an estimated 320 million dollars in medical malpractice premiums.

Money for the neurological fund will come from cigarette and health-related taxes under 1996 state Health Care Reform Act. The state's portion of the neurological fund will be $30 million in the first year, $70 million in the second and third years, and $100 million in the fourth year. Hospitals will pay a new $30 million tax on revenue from their obstetrics programs.