Updates from the Committee on Health

Fair Insurance Practices, 6 Additional Bills Pass First Assembly Health Committee of 2011
January 12, 2011

In its first committee meeting of the 2011 legislative session, held Tuesday, January 11, the Assembly Committee on Health favorably reported 9 bills. For more information on a particular bill, please contact the sponsor listed after the description. For the text of a bill, its supporting memorandum, and information on its status, go to: http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/menuf.cgi.

Tougher Penalties for Public Health Violations – Raises the maximum civil penalty that can be imposed by a local health department for violations of the Public Health Law from $1,000 to $2,000, to match the penalty that can be imposed by the State Health Department for the same violations. (A.346, Paulin)

Preventing Ipecac Abuse – Requires that ipecac (which induces vomiting) be sold “behind the counter” to curb abuse. (A.372, Hoyt)

Lupus Education and Outreach Programs – Authorizes a Lupus education and outreach program and establishes an income tax check-off for the program. (A.460, Gibson)

Streamlining Health Plan Credentialing of Providers – Simplifies the process by which health care providers may be included in a health care plan’s network, using standard forms to be developed by the Commissioner of Health and the Superintendent of Insurance. (A.575, Gottfried)

Creating Fair Insurance Practices – The following three bills would prevent inappropriate insurance practices:

  • Bars health plans from changing a patient’s prescriptions without the prescriber’s consent, and bars contracts limiting a physician from referring a patient to an out-of-network provider. (A.594, Gottfried)
  • Provides that if a health plan fails to act on a patient’s appeal of a denial of coverage for a service, it shall be deemed an approval rather than a disapproval. (A.659, Gottfried)
  • Provides that in a health plan internal review of a denial of coverage for a service, the reviewer must be a physician in the specialty involved; this is currently the rule for external appeals. (A.662, Gottfried)

Changes in Hospital Ownership or Control – Would ensure that hospital mergers and affiliations that significantly affect a community’s health care would be reviewed by the State Public Health and Health Planning Council (formerly the State Public Health Council) and the Health Department. This bill closes loopholes to require public approval of hospital mergers and acquisitions. (A.660, Gottfried)

Protecting Sexual Assault Victims - Provides for hospitals to offer prophylaxis HIV drug treatment for victims of sexual assault who may have been exposed to HIV, with financial assistance from the Crime Victims Board. (A.669, Jaffee)