The New York State Department of Health investigates complaints against doctors and hospitals. When you make a complaint, the Department of Health may investigate by reviewing the medical records and interviewing doctors and nurses. The investigation usually takes between 3-4 months.
After the investigation has been completed, the Department of Health may issue a document called a “Statement of Deficiencies”. The Statement of Deficiencies lists the specific deficiencies in medical treatment by the doctor or hospital and the hospital must respond with a document called a “Plan of Corrections”. The Plan of Corrections shows the hospital’s plan to avoid the same medical mistakes from happening again.
How to Get the Statement of Deficiencies and Plan of Corrections
You can get the Statement of Deficiencies and the Plan of Corrections by sending a request by mail to the Department of Health. While the names of the patient will be crossed out to preserve patient confidentiality, the Statement of Deficiencies and Plan of Corrections will give you great information about the specific findings of medical negligence.
How Department of Health Findings Can Help Your Case
The factual findings by the Department of Health are admissible in evidence at the trial of your medical malpractice lawsuit. Let’s say, for example, that the Statement of Deficiencies states that “Doctor Smith altered the medical records six months after the treatment was provided.” This is a specific factual finding that your lawyer can introduce into evidence at the trial.
With this factual finding from the Department of Health, you have a government agency substantiating your argument that the medical records were altered to cover-up the medical mistake. When a government agency like the Department of Health substantiates your claim, you have independent proof that your claim is true. Findings of fact by the Department of Health are powerful evidence.