For the fifth year in a row, the Assembly passed "Timothy’s Law," a bill Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Broome) is a sponsor of that ends discrimination against people who need mental health and chemical dependency care (A.2912). The legislation is named for Timothy O’Clair, a 12-year-old boy who took his own life after years of battling mental illness.
"This legislation would help those who suffer from mental illness receive the same quality health care as those who don’t," Lupardo said. "To deny a person who has a mental illness the medical help he or she needs is unacceptable."
Timothy’s parents, Tom and Donna O’Clair, were unable to get their son the mental health services he needed to recover from depression after they exhausted the 30 inpatient days and 20 outpatient visits provided by their health insurance policy – limits that do not exist for other services. Ultimately, the O’Clairs’ were forced to turn their son over to state foster care services in order to get him the care he needed.
Under current law, health insurance companies may even deny coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of mental health and chemical dependency. "Timothy’s Law" would end the practice of limiting coverage for mental health and chemical dependency care, providing coverage comparable to other health care and medical services.
"I urge the Senate to join our efforts and pass this important legislation," said Lupardo.