New Law in New York State Requiring Office Signage Regarding Patients Reporting Rights to the Office Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC)
On October 7, 2020, a new law was enacted in New York State requiring that all physician practices post signage in their offices directing patients to the website of the Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) for information about the patients’ right to report physicians for professional misconduct. Additionally, the signage must be conspicuously posted and visible to the patients. This new requirement is effective immediately as of its signage into law on October 7, 2020. This has given little time for physician practice groups to prepare and implement signage.
The new provision in Section 230 of the New York State Public Health Law requires that OPMC’s website be updated with information about patients’ rights and reporting options for professional misconduct, specifically addressing instances of involving sexual harassment and assault. OPMC’s website informing patients how to file a complaint of professional misconduct is: https://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/doctors/conduct/.
The legislation was signed into law by Governor Cuomo despite the Memorandum of Opposition to the new law filed by the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) in March 2020, referencing that the law would be unnecessary since the information is readily available to patients on the internet. MSSNY has expressed concern that the mandate may cause potential distrust and unnecessary anxiety that every physician post a readily noticeable sign in his or her office or other practice setting regarding how patients can report a physician to the disciplinary Board. Additionally, MSSNY has expressed concern that the mandate may put physicians at risk for disciplinary action by the OPMC if the signage does not meet the new requirements. According to a statement from MSSNY’s website, MSSNY has requested its legal counsel to determine if there is anything that is illegal about such a requirement and has reached out to the Department of Health to identify the timeframe for compliance.
At this time, physicians should be aware of the new requirements and post signage accordingly directing patients to the OPMC website for information about patient’s rights and how to report professional misconduct.
For questions regarding this issue and Health Care Law and Professional Discipline & Licensing matters, please contact MCB Partners:
Kenneth R. Larywon, Esq.
Thomas A. Mobilia, Esq.
John J. Barbera, Esq.