Assembly Health Committee Update

New York Health Act Reported from Committee

The Assembly Committee on Health favorably reported 22 bills at its meetings on Tuesday, February 10, and Thursday, February 26, 2015, including legislation giving adoptees access to their birth certificates and medical records, restoring "prescriber prevails" in Medicaid managed care, and creating the New York Health universal health coverage plan.

The New York Health Act, A5062 (Gottfried)/S3525 (Perkins), would establish universal, complete health coverage for every New Yorker. It would save billions currently spent on insurance administration and waste and remove the costly barriers to care that lead one in three families with private insurance to put off necessary medical care.[1] The New York Health Act would end the regressive "tax" we pay in premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and out-of-network charges that have no relation to ability to pay, and instead be funded by broad-based progressive assessments based on ability to pay.

The Assembly Health Committee recently held six hearings across the state where witness after witness - patients, health care providers, small business owners, local government officials - told of financial barriers to care, network restrictions, time wasted negotiating with insurance plans, and other problems with devastating consequences to health and family economic well-being. While the federal Affordable Care Act made some important improvements to the current system, its fundamental flaw of leaving insurance companies in charge means living with rising premiums, out-of-control deductibles and co-pays, and restricted provider networks. New York can and must do better.

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:

Tuesday, February 10

Obstetrician Risk Management Continuing Education - Grants a medical malpractice premium reduction to those obstetricians, other physicians who do deliveries, and midwives who take a continuing education course on risk management and birthing options for patients. (A115, Paulin)

Genetic Disease Screening and Counseling - Authorizes grants for familial dysautonomia, Canavan's and Tay-Sachs disease screening and counseling. (A126, Dinowitz)

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. (A128, Paulin)

Generic Drug Information Access - Requires the Commissioner of Health to annually publish a list of generic drug products. (A145, Paulin)

Adult Home Residents Right to Sue - Lets adult home residents go to court for a court-appointed receiver to operate the adult home when the operator has endangered the health, safety, or welfare of the residents. (A154, Weinstein)

Restroom Access - Gives patients with Crohn's disease and other eligible medical conditions the right to use employee restrooms in businesses open to the public that do not have a public restroom. (A277, Paulin)

Palliative Care and Pain Management - Requires health care practitioners to complete course work or training in pain management and palliative care, with limited exceptions. (A355, Rosenthal)

Managed Long Term Care Plan Ownership - Prohibits for-profit health maintenance organizations from owning managed long term care plans. (A414, Gottfried)

Streamlining Health Plan Credentialing - Requires health plans to use standardized forms (developed by the Health Commissioner) for health care providers applying to be included in a plan's network and for referrals. (A443A, Gottfried)

Effects of Artificial Night Light - Requires the Department of Health to study the health effects of night-time artificial lighting. (A572, Rosenthal)

Lyme Disease Treatment and Protection -Clarifies a 2014 law protecting physicians from disciplinary actions for treating patients who show symptoms but test negative. (A2554, Barrett)

Adoptee Right to Know - Allows adoptees who are at least 18 years old to obtain from the Department of Health a non-certified copy of their original birth certificates and medical history forms if available. (A2901, Weprin)

Food in Funeral Homes - Allows funeral homes to provide food or beverages to people attending wakes or funerals. (A2981, Gottfried)

E-Prescribing Delay - Delays until March 2016 the requirement that prescribers use electronic prescriptions; the requirement is due to take effect March 27, 2015. (A4274, McDonald)

Access to Life Care Programs for Seniors - Provides for an application and oversight process for continuing care communities to offer "life care at home" programs to seniors. (A4490, Schimminger)

Thursday, February 26

Children's Camp Oversight - Requires single-purpose children's day camps to obtain permits and liability insurance and comply with regulations. Under existing law, only camps that have two or more activities are subject to Department of Health regulation. (A37, Paulin)

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. (A308, Rosenthal)

Restoring "Prescriber Prevails" - Restores "prescriber prevails" rules to Medicaid managed care programs. 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. (A1174, Rodriguez)

Municipal Ambulance Services - Clarifies the right of a municipality or fire district to establish an ambulance service when it meets Health Department training, staffing, and equipment standards. (A2185, Gottfried)

Postnatal Tissue and Fluid Education and Outreach - Requires pregnant patients to be informed about donation of postnatal tissue and fluid. (A3392, Titone)

Adult Homes; telling residents when a temporary facility operator is appointed - Requires adult homes, enriched housing programs, and assisted living residences 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. (A4343, Robinson)

New York Health universal health coverage - Establishes "New York Health," a universal, single-payer health coverage program that would cover all New Yorkers. New York Health would replace insurance company premiums, deductibles, and co-pays with a publicly-funded benefit package more comprehensive than commercial health plans. (A5062 Gottfried)