Beware the Short Statute of Limitations for Municipal Hospitals and Federally Qualified Health Centers in New York


A claim against a municipal hospital has a short statute of limitations. A municipal hospital is a publicly owned hospital, such as Westchester Medical Center (Valhalla, NY), Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital (Poughkeepsie, NY) or Kings County Hospital Center (Brooklyn).

New York City has 11 municipal or public hospitals:

  • Bellevue Hospital Center
  • Elmhurst Hospital Center
  • Harlem Hospital Center
  • Jacobi Medical Center
  • Kings County Hospital Center
  • Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center
  • Metropolitan Hospital Center
  • Queens Hospital Center
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital
  • Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center

Similar to a municipal hospital, there is a shortened statute of limitations relative to claims against federally qualified health centers. There are 537 federally qualified health centers in New York and in Manhattan, there are 40 federally qualified health centers. Federally qualified health centers serve an underserved area or population often in rural communities.

Federally qualified health centers (“FQHC”) are outpatient clinics that qualify for specific reimbursement systems under Medicare and Medicaid. Federally qualified health centers in Upstate New York include Cornerstone Family Healthcare, Hudson Headwaters Health Network and the Whitney M. Young Health Center. You can determine whether a clinic is a federally qualified health center by searching “FQHC Provider List” at the website of the New York State Department of Health.

In most cases, the statute of limitations is 1 year and 90 days from the date of the alleged medical malpractice. This is much shorter than the statute of limitations against doctors and non-municipal hospitals, which is 2 ½ years from the date of the alleged medical malpractice.

A Notice of Claim Must be Filed Against a Municipal Hospital and a Federally Qualified Health Center

Additionally, you are required to file a Notice of Claim against a municipal hospital and a federally qualified health center within 90 days of the alleged medical malpractice.  A Notice of Claim is a legal form that states the nature of the claim, the time, place and manner in which the claim arose, and the items and dollar amounts of damages or injuries. A claim against a federally qualified health center is based upon the Federal Tort Claims Act, and the Notice of Claim is known as a Standard Form 95.

The Notice of Claim must be served on the municipal hospital by personal delivery or registered or certified mail. The court has some authority to permit the filing of a Notice of Claim that is not served within the 90 days. However, the court may not grant an extension that exceeds the outside limit of one year and 90 days.

The Municipal Hospital Has the Right to a 50-H Hearing of the Claimant

The attorneys for the municipal hospital and federally qualified health center have the right to conduct a deposition of the claimant before the filing of the lawsuit (known as a “50-hearing”.)  At the 50-hearing, the attorneys for the municipal hospital  or federally qualified health center will ask questions of the claimant under oath about their claim.