Effective October 7, 2020, updates to New York’s Public Health Law have imposed a new requirement on physician practices to post conspicuous signage directing patients to the website of the Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) and advising them that they may visit the OPMC website to report suspected instances of professional misconduct. Specifically, the new Public Health Law § 230(11)(h) provides as follows:
The office of professional medical conduct shall post on its website information on patients’ rights and reporting options under this subdivision regarding professional misconduct, which shall specifically include information on reporting instances of misconduct involving sexual harassment and assault. All physicians’ practice settings shall conspicuously post signage, visible to their patients, directing such patients to the office of professional medical conduct’s website for information about their rights and how to report professional misconduct.
Notably, the new provision does not specify the exact contents of the required signage other than to state that it should “direct” the patients to OPMC’s website “for information about their rights and how to report professional misconduct.” At a minimum then, the sign should contain a link to OPMC’s website (located at https://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/doctors/conduct/) and contain a short statement that patients may learn more about their rights or report suspected physician misconduct using the information at that link.
Likewise, the law does not specify precisely where in a medical office the sign should be posted, beyond saying that it should be posted “conspicuously” and be “visible to their patients.” Presumably, placing the sign where it can be plainly viewed in a practice’s waiting room or near a reception desk would likely be considered satisfactory for these purposes.
Although practitioners and practice associations, including the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY), have taken umbrage at this new rule, it remains effective as of this writing. This being so, physicians should take immediate steps to comply with the signage requirement in their respective practices to the extent they have not already done so.
Weiss Zarett Brofman Sonnenklar & Levy, P.C. is a Long Island law firm providing a wide array of legal services to the members of the health care industry, including corporate and transactional matters, civil and administrative litigation, healthcare regulatory issues, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, and commercial real estate transactions.
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