NYPIRG applauds New York City Comptroller Scott Stinger for proposing a data driven risk management initiative to identify ways to prevent deaths and injuries in New York City and thereby reduce payouts.
“Governments should practice the Hippocratic principle and its corollary: First do no harm and then figure out ways to minimize injuries, deaths and rights violations. That’s ultimately the best way to protect public coffers,” said NYPIRG Legislative Director Blair Horner.
“Unfortunately too often public policy decisions are based on manufactured ‘crises’ driven by anecdotes, not facts. Comptroller Stringer’s approach could help replace the fear-mongering of so-called reform campaigns that do little more than call for taking money away from injured New Yorkers,” Horner said. “The Comptroller deserves credit for offering this creative approach. We hope that state policymakers take notice and advance similar measures in Albany.”
The Comptroller’s report offered some notable observations:
• ‘HHC has seen claims fall three percent between FY 2008 – 2013, with settlement costs down nearly 14 percent over the same time period. ‘ [page 1]
• ‘while settlements for medical malpractice at HHC are down 22 percent over the past decade, the cost and number of claims against the NYPD have grown tremendously.’ [page 4]
• ‘Bellevue appeared to have encountered a shocking increase in claims activity between 2012 – 2013. However, a deeper dive into the data showed that a majority of the claims filed were related to damage to employee uniforms as a result of Hurricane Sandy—a batch of relatively small property damage claims that will not have a material effect on claim payouts overall.’ [page 7]
• ‘As stated in DEP’s 2012 “State of the Sewers Report,” over the next ten years, the City is set to invest $2.4 billion in critical sewer infrastructure to “expand sewer capacity, build out sewers to parts of the City not connected to the system, and repair and replace sewers [page 12].’” [Ironically, this observation is being made while New York State is siphoning off over $500 million in funding for municipal clean water programs proposed for use to help fund the Tappan Zee Bridge.]