New OPMC Requirements

On October 7, 2020, New York State Public Health Law 230 was amended to require every physician’s “practice setting” to post a conspicuous sign regarding where to report professional misconduct.

The new law, which became effective immediately, requires all physicians’ practice settings to conspicuously post signs, visible to their patients, directing them to the Office of Professional Medical Conduct’s (“OPMC”) website for information about patients’ rights and how to report professional misconduct.

The new law also requires OPMC to post on its website information on patients’ rights and reporting options regarding professional misconduct, with specific information on reporting instances of misconduct involving sexual harassment and assault.

The New York Department of Health (“DOH”), in an October 8, 2020 letter advising physicians about the new law, explained that the intent of the legislation is to “give patients greater access to information regarding how to report misconduct, especially sexual misconduct, committed by physicians (and by extension, physician assistants, specialist assistants, and unlicensed medical residents…)”.

The DOH letter further stated that because the new law requires signs to be conspicuous, the postings should be “readily visible in all areas accessed by patients and those who accompany them to visits.” Suggested locations for the posting included “waiting rooms, check-in/out windows and treatment areas.” The DOH letter also specified that the information posted must refer patients to the following OPMC website:

The Medical Society of the State of New York has voiced strong objections to the new legislature. “We believe this law unfairly singles out physicians – as opposed to any type of health care provider or other professional – for this signage requirement.  With already ample information available through a basic internet search regarding how a patient can file a complaint to the OPMC about a particular physician, this requirement is unnecessary.”

Failure to post the required signage could subject a physician to discipline if it can be demonstrated that there was a willful violation by a physician.

If you have questions about the new law or have other health law related questions please contact our office.