Assembly Health Committee Update:
Reproductive Health Act Goes to the Assembly Floor
Bill would make "Roe" state law
March 24, 2015

Assembly Health Committee Update: Reproductive Health Act Goes to the Assembly Floor

Bill would make "Roe" state law

The Assembly Committee on Health favorably reported 23 bills at its meetings on Tuesday, March 3 and Tuesday, March 24, including the Reproductive Health Act (RHA), sponsored by Assembly Member Deborah Glick. The RHA aligns state public health law with existing federal law.

In practice, the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision has guaranteed abortion rights in New York since 1973. However, while New York's own state law is similar to the protections of Roe, there are some protections in Roe that would be lost if it were overturned. The RHA codifies in state law the rights that Roe has provided since 1973. "The right to reproductive freedom is a fundamental right. New York State must strengthen reproductive health rights and respect women's decisions," said Assembly Health Committee chair Richard N. Gottfried, a co-sponsor of the bill. The bill is expected to be passed by the Assembly on Wednesday, March 25.

The Committee also advanced legislation requiring all hospitals to have community advisory boards; authorizing collective negotiations by health care providers with health plans; and barring health plans from changing a patient's prescription without the prescriber's consent. 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, March 3

Blood Donation Drive Grant Program - Would authorize grants to assist local community groups for conducting blood drives, within amounts appropriated. (A375, Gottfried)

Requiring Hospital Community Advisory Boards - Requires every hospital to have a community advisory board. (A376, Gottfried)

Responsible Pesticide Management in Hospitals - Establishes requirements for integrated pest management plans for hospitals and requirements for notification of hospital occupants about pesticide applications. (A700, Englebright)

Well Water Education Act - Requires the Department of Health to prepare educational materials on the importance of testing drinking water wells. Real estate agents would provide the material to buyers of homes served by wells. (A804, Jaffee)

Protecting Day Care Air Quality - Bars day care centers from being built near environmentally hazardous sites. Requires air quality and ventilation standards for day care centers. (A947, Englebright)

Notifying Patients of Hospital Policies - Requires hospitals to disclose to patients, prior to admission (except in an emergency), policies that may be contrary to a patient's wishes (e.g., relating to withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment). (A1003, Rosenthal)

Hospital Identification and Assistance for Domestic Violence Victims - Establishes procedures for hospitals and emergency rooms to properly identify and assist suspected or confirmed cases of domestic violence. (A1232, Lavine)

Colon Cancer Tax Check-Off - Establishes an income tax check-off to fund colon cancer education. (A1295, Cymbrowitz)

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. (A1567, Gottfried)

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. (A1615, Gottfried)

State Building Smoking Prohibitions - Prohibits smoking within 50 feet of an entrance to a state office or agency building. (A1732, Cahill)

Preventing Underage Internet Purchase of Cigarettes - Requires companies that sell tobacco products over the internet to acquire a signed authorization stating the recipient is 18 years of age or older. (A1743, Pretlow)

Managed Care Patients' Rights - Assures that a patient who is being treated for a terminal illness can still have access to the health care practitioner who is treating him/her even if the practitioner is no longer in the patient's health plan network. (A1932, Dinowitz)

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) on Golf Courses - Requires all golf courses to have at least one automated external defibrillator and a trained operator present during hours of operation. (A1941, Markey)

Expedited Partner Therapy for Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Allows for expedited partner therapy for any sexually transmitted diseases for which it is recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) Current law covers expedited partner therapy for chlamydia but no other STDs. (A2170, Schimel)

Health Plans Switching Drugs - Bars health plans from changing a patient's prescription without the prescriber's consent, and bars contracts limiting a physician from referring a patient to an out-of-network provider. (A2210, Gottfried)

Lead Hazard Clean-up - Requires the New York State Commissioner of Health to take action when an area of lead poisoning has been designated. Current law allows action but does not require it. (A2592, Dinowitz)

Tuesday, March 24

Education and Outreach for Sexual Offense Victims Programs - Authorizes the Department of Health to conduct education and outreach regarding counseling and advocacy programs for victims of sexual offenses. (A86, Paulin)

Health Care Provider Collective Negotiation with Health Plans - Allows doctors and other health care providers to form organizations to negotiate collectively with health plans. Negotiations could cover rates of payment, procedures for approving coverage of services, and other terms and conditions. (A336, Gottfried)

Medicaid Orthopedic Footwear Coverage - Authorizes Medicaid coverage of orthopedic footwear to address consequences of illness, injury, or disease. (A4602A, Colton)

Organ and Tissue Donor Age Expansion - Allows people age 15 and over, but under 18, to register as organ and tissue donors, with parental consent. (A4990, Ortiz)

Notice of Patients' Rights - Requires hospitals to post notices about patient rights to receive care regardless of immigration status and bars hospitals from inquiring about a patient's immigration status. (A5853, Ortiz)

Reproductive Health Act - Codifies the reproductive rights guaranteed by Roe v. Wade in New York State public health law. (A6221, Glick)