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Doctors vs. lawyers in heavyweight lobby fight over malpractice bill

ALBANY - It's lawyers vs. doctors in a heavyweight lobbying fight over a malpractice bill in the final regularly scheduled days of the 2015 legislative session.

The New York State Trial Lawyers Association backs a bill proponents call "Lavern's Law," which would change the window for bringing a malpractice lawsuit from 2.5 years from the occurrence of an alleged medical error to 2.5 years from when the patient discovers the error.

Supporters say the change would cover scenarios in which a tumor originally is misdiagnosed or hepatitis-C is discovered long after the patient has used a non-sterile syringe.

A coalition of physician, hospital and insurance groups oppose the proposal, as does the New York Conference of Mayors, according to a legislative memo. Opponents say the change is unnecessary and significantly drive up medical and insurance costs.

The Democrat-led Assembly approved the bill on Wednesday, but the Republican-led Senate hasn't taken it up yet. The legislative session is scheduled to end Wednesday.

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