Manny’s Law: Public Awareness Meeting To Be Held

February 8, 2007
I am taking this opportunity to encourage residents of the 2nd Assembly District to attend a public awareness meeting regarding “Manny’s Law.” The meeting will be held on February 24 from 12 to 3 PM, at the Mastic, Moriches, Shirley Public library.

A wide discrepancy exists in our current health care system in the way hospitals apply financial assistance policies to low-income patients who cannot afford health insurance. Manny’s Law is an important measure that would require hospitals to inform these patients of their right to receive charity care.

Manny Lanzo was 24 years old when he passed away because of a deformed blood vessel in his brain. The hospital continued to deny him treatment until he attained proper health insurance. Unfortunately, he waited several months for treatment and died before he was granted coverage. Manny was never informed of the availability of charity care. His mother, Levia Prieto, has fought for the passage of this bill so that no other family will have to suffer the way they have.

The Law specifically defines "free care eligible patients,” “sliding fee scale eligible patients" and "hardship patients." It also requires hospitals to establish procedures for providing financial assistance to these patients in order to receive indigent care pool funding, which uninsured patients can access if they cannot afford to pay for hospital care. These procedures include requiring notification of patients during the admitting process, the use of a simple standard application for financial assistance and the evaluation of applications to determine eligibility for assistance.

All hospitals across New York State operate indigent care pools. However, since most hospitals do not let patients know of this provision, patients will often forgo necessary medical treatment because they cannot afford it. Manny's Law would change this.

No one should have to suffer the way Manny and his family have. I encourage residents to attend this informational meeting to learn more about this measure. I also encourage people to write to their state-elected officials asking them to support legislation that would require hospitals to inform patients of their right to charity care. It could save someone’s life.