Miller v. City of Poughkeepsie

185 A.D.2d 594; 586 N.Y.S.2d 396
Brief Filed: 12/91
Court: New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division
Year of Decision: 1991

Read the full-text amicus brief (PDF, 600KB)

Issue

Whether the State of New York and the federal government consider "medical treatment" to include services provided by a psychologist

Index Topic

Psychologists' Scope of Practice/Reimbursement for "Mental Health" Services

Facts

Plaintiff David Miller is a psychologist who treated a city police officer, following an accident that occurred while the officer was on duty. In accordance with state law, the city initially paid Dr. Miller's bills, but later determined that psychological services were not medical treatments within the meaning of the statute. Dr. Miller sued the city for payment and the trial court dismissed the lawsuit, holding that medical treatment could only be provided by physicians. Dr. Miller appealed and asked APA to file an amicus brief in support of his position.

APA's Position

APA's amicus brief argued that: (1) the term "medical treatment" includes psychologists' services as a matter of law; (2) the legislature intended the city to pay for services furnished by psychologists to police officers injured in the line of duty since the law is a remedial statute and must be liberally construed to the benefit of injured police officers; (3) the trial court's ruling would lead to unreasonable results; and (4) recent amendments to the New York workers' compensation program showed that the legislature intended psychological services to be covered under the law.

Results

The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, followed APA's analysis and concluded that the law must be construed to cover services by non-physicians such as psychologists.