Assembly Health Committee Advances 21 Bills
February 12, 2013

The Assembly Committee on Health favorably reported 21 bills at meetings on Tuesday, January 29, and Tuesday, February 5, including legislation to protect patients in the event of denials of insurance coverage and to improve patient handling standards in hospitals and nursing homes. Four of these bills have since passed the full Assembly.

For more information on a particular bill, please contact the sponsor listed after the description. For the text of a bill, supporting memorandum, and information on its status, go to: http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/menuf.cgi

Tuesday, January 29

Flavored Tobacco Product Restrictions – Helps to decrease the use of tobacco products among children by prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products, with limited exceptions. (A1179, Paulin)

Breast Cancer Mapping – Authorizes the Health Research Science Board to fund mapping of occurrences of breast cancer. (A1935, Englebright, passed Assembly on February 4)

Adult Homes; telling residents when a temporary facility operator is appointed - Requires adult homes, enriched housing programs, and assisted living programs to provide written notice to residents in the event that a temporary operator has been appointed. A temporary operator is appointed when the Health Department finds serious problems in the operation of the facility. (A2446, Robinson, passed Assembly on February 4)

Domestic Violence Victims – Establishes procedures for hospitals and emergency rooms to properly identify and assist victims of domestic violence. (A2562, Lavine)

Food Allergy Awareness – Requires the Department of Health to establish educational materials and programs about food allergens for public eating establishments, with authority for regulations on disclosure and posting. (A2574, Ortiz)

Lawsuits Against Nursing Homes – Nursing home residents may sue if they are abused or injured. This bill clarifies that a resident’s legal representative or estate can also sue. (A2687, Gottfried, passed Assembly on February 4)

Clinical Trial Access & Education Fund – Promotes access to clinical trials by creating a state grant program to help pay for travel and lodging for patients and family members. (A268, Gottfried)

Creating Fair Insurance Practices – 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. (A2691, 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. (A2693, Gottfried, passed Assembly on February 4)

Tuesday, February 5

Effects of Artificial Night Light – Requires the Department of Health to study the potential health effects of night-time artificial lighting. (A263, Rosenthal)

Simplifying Signing of Health Care Proxies – Requires only one witness signature, not two, for a health care proxy, and makes forging a health care proxy a felony. (A619, Rosenthal)

Palliative Care and Pain Management – Requires health care practitioners to complete course work or training in pain management and palliative care, with limited exceptions. (A1124, Rosenthal)

Restaurant Violations and Grading – Creates easier access to restaurant grading by requiring the Department of Health to post inspection results on its website. (A2116, Paulin)

Safe Patient Handling – Provides for setting standards for safe handling of patients to prevent injury to health care workers and patients in hospitals and nursing homes, with implementation by each facility. (A2180A, Gunther)

Restoring “Prescriber Prevails” – Restores “prescriber prevails” rules to Medicaid managed care programs, ensuring Medicaid payment for prescription drugs. If a Medicaid managed care plan denies prior authorization for a prescription for a particular drug, and the patient’s health care professional persists in choosing that drug, the prescription would be covered. (A2335, Rodriguez)

Proper Handling of Drug Samples – Establishes recordkeeping and safety standards for the handling of drug samples in health care practitioner offices, to reduce the risk of dispensing outdated, expired, improperly stored, or adulterated drugs that can cause adverse reactions. (A2697, Gottfried)

Weight Control Education and Outreach – Includes weight control information in the health care and wellness education and outreach program. (A2893, Crespo)

Addressing Medical Errors – Quality assurance reviews in hospitals help identify problems and prevent errors and injuries. However, some personnel are reluctant to participate. Requires health care professionals to participate fully in hospital quality assurance reviews of bad outcomes. The confidentiality protections of those internal reviews would apply to practitioners even if they are sued. (A3138, Gottfried)

Nursing Home Care Standards – Establishes a "patient diversion" system for nursing homes that are unable to provide a minimum standard of care or services. New patients would not be admitted until the nursing home meets basic standards. (A3139, Gottfried)

Lupus Tax Check-Off – Establishes an income tax check-off to fund a Lupus education and outreach program within the New York State Department of Health. (A3141, Gibson)

Managed Long Term Care Plan Ownership – Prohibits health maintenance organizations from owning managed long term care plans. (A3781, Gottfried)

Medicaid Managed Care Advisory Review Panel – Updates the scope of the Special Advisory Review Panel on Medicaid Managed Care and adds members representing pediatrics and the disability community. (A4062, Gottfried)