Updates from the Committee on Health

HIV Testing, Two Additional Bills Pass Assembly Health Committee
June 23, 2010

The Assembly Committee on Health favorably reported three bills on Tuesday, June 22.

Expanding HIV Testing – Enacts the provisions of the Health Department program bill to expand HIV testing (see below) with three changes:

  • Oral rather than written consent may be used for rapid HIV testing (i.e., a test that produces results in less than one hour), except in prisons or jails.
  • The requirement that all patients be offered an HIV test would apply starting at age 13, not 18.
  • The requirement to offer HIV testing would apply in all primary care settings (including practitioner office-based care).

The bill is sponsored by legislators who have previously been at odds on HIV testing legislation. The City of New York, GMHC (Gay Men’s Health Crisis), Harlem United, the Latino Commission on AIDS, the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc., and the New York State Academy of Family Physicians support the bill. (A.11487, Gottfried, Towns, Mayersohn, Robinson; S.8227, Duane, Huntley)

AED Trained Staff; Health Clubs – Current law requires health clubs to have an AED (automated external defibrillator) machine and AED-trained staff on duty. This bill would require that the AED-trained staff only must be present during staffed business hours. (A.11458, Spano)

Free Birth Certificates for Veterans – Entitles veterans who have received an honorable or general discharge to request a copy of their birth certificate, free of charge. A “general discharge” includes a discharge based on a violation of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule. (A.11502, Glick)

----------

Summary Of Health Department Program Bill On HIV Testing (A.7610, Gottfried)

  • Preserves requirement that consent to an HIV test be written.
  • Allows an HIV test consent to be included in a “general” consent or a form that covers multiple procedures. A separate HIV consent form would no longer be required. Someone who does not want to be tested would check off a box to decline.
  • Consent would be “durable.” Once a patient consents, the provider or clinic would not have to get a new consent or repeat giving pre-test information on later visits.
  • Pre-consent and post-test information would be simplified and can be provided in writing (not requiring spoken counseling).
  • Testing would be required to be offered to patients aged 18 to 64 in hospital emergency rooms, inpatient care, and primary care in hospitals and clinics, with some exceptions.
  • When a patient tests HIV positive, the provider must offer to arrange for referral for treatment.
  • Where a health care worker is potentially exposed to HIV by a patient, and the patient lacks capacity to consent to being tested, testing may be ordered without the patient’s consent.
  • Public health agencies will be able to use information obtained through HIV name reporting for monitoring consistency and quality of follow-up treatment.
  • If a patient dies, HIV-related information could be provided to the executor or administrator of the estate as necessary for estate administration.