New York enacts stricter laws against sexual harassment

Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo signed into law sweeping changes to the state’s sexual harassment law.  The new law requires employers to develop anti-harassment policies and training and bans most nondisclosure agreements and mandatory arbitration in sexual harassment complaints.  Importantly, sexual harassment training must be in-person and interactive; computer training will no longer suffice.  Employers must comply with the law's directives by October 9, 2018 in New York State and by April 1, 2019 in New York City.

Email Gary Sastow at gsastow@bgkslaw with inquiries about the new law or for assistance with compliance. 

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Continuous Treatment Doctrine, which extends statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims, is alive and well

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In a February 15, 2018 decision, the New York Court of Appeals allowed a malpractice action to proceed where the surgery at issue took place 9 years before the patient sued, and there was a 2 1/2 year gap in treatment.  The court held that the plaintiff raised issues of fact as to whether she and her surgeon "intended" a continuous course of treatment. Notably, the court stated that the fact that the physician repeatedly told plaintiff she could return "as needed" does not foreclose a finding that the parties anticipated further treatment.  

Compromise reached on law extending time to file medical malpractice suit for a missed cancer diagnosis

The agreed-upon final version of what is known as "Lavern's Law" provides that the 2 1/2 year statute of limitations runs from the date plaintiff knew or should have known of the negligence, rather than the date when the alleged negligence occurred.  The law, which only applies to malpractice cases involving cancers or malignant tumors, also includes an outer limit of seven years from the date of occurrence.

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New Study Suggests Usability Issues with EHR May Result in Patient Harm

Research published in JAMA on March 27, 2018 discusses the potential risks to patient safety from poorly-designed electronic health record systems, in an effort to identify how EHR can be improved. Some of the medical errors reported in the study were related to issues with the EHR interface, such as difficultly entering patient data accurately or alert features not working properly.

While the study, which was limited to clinics in the mid-Atlantic region, shows EHRs are associated with medical error, they represented a very small number of the reports of errors and there were very few reports of serious errors. That said, there is definitely room for improvement. Caregivers must be well-trained to spot errors in the EHR.  More important, continued focus on the safety and usability of EHR is necessary.

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