Assembly Health Committee Update
February 3, 2015

The Assembly Committee on Health favorably reported 11 bills at its meeting on Tuesday, February 3, including legislation authorizing midwife-led birthing centers; providing due process to health care practitioners; and limiting the use of pesticides at children’s camps. 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

Leukemia Tax Check-Offs – Provides an income tax check-off for leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma education and outreach. (A49, Cusick)

Pesticide Prevention at Children’s Camps – Limits the use of pesticides at children’s overnight or summer day camps to designated safe categories, modeled on the standards for schools. (A129, Paulin)

Female Genital Mutilation Education and Outreach – Requires the Department of Health to conduct education and outreach programs for patients and health care providers regarding female genital mutilation. (A134, Paulin)

Public Health Emergency Notifications - Requires county health commissioners to notify all local heads of municipalities and county legislators covering the affected area in the event of an imminent risk to public health and safety. (A187, Abinanti)

Lymphedema and Lymphatic Diseases Research Tax Check-off Funding - Creates the lymphedema and lymphatic diseases research grants program and research fund. (A230, Rosenthal)

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. (A442, Gottfried)

Creating Fair Insurance Practices - Provides that a health plan’s internal review of a denial of coverage for a service must be done by a physician in the specialty involved; this is currently the rule for external appeals. (A445, Gottfried)

Midwife-Led Birth Centers – Midwives are highly-trained licensed health care professionals in New York. A midwifery birth center may operate as a group practice of midwives. This bill would also allow it to be a facility licensed under Article 28 of the Public Health Law under direction of a midwife. The Department of Health would have authority to issue appropriate regulations. (A446, Gottfried)

Changes in Hospital Ownership or Control – Hospitals are increasingly merging, forming alliances and networks, etc. This can have important effects on a community. But dramatic changes in what entity controls a hospital can now be done with little or no Health Department review. This bill would require that changes in which entity effectively controls a hospital (including acquisitions, mergers and affiliations) must be reviewed and subject to approval by the State Public Health and Health Planning Council and the Health Department. (A841, Gottfried)

Due Process for Health Care Practitioners – When a health plan drops a health care professional from its network, the professional can appeal the decision. But the appeal is handled by a board made up of appointees of the plan itself. This bill requires that hearing panels will include one member appointed by the insurer, one member appointed by the subject of the hearing, and a third panelist chosen by the other two. (A1212, Lavine)

Telehealth – Technical amendments to a 2014 law requiring insurers and Medicaid to cover telehealth and telemedicine services if the service would be covered without telehealth/telemedicine. (A2552, Russell)