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December 10, 2009

Sorry Works! disclosure and apology bill introduced

Senator Valesky recently intoduced S. 6321, establishing the Sorry Works! demonstration program. The bill would establish pilot projects upstate to study the effect disclosure, apology and settlement (when appropriate) have on overall costs related to medical malpractice. Some sort of disclosure and apology law was a common recommendation at the Senate's recent hearing on medical malpractice. The bill does not currently have an Assembly sponsor.

January 7, 2010

NYS Senate Committee Chairmanships Announced

Yesterday, Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson announced Committee Chairmanships for the 2010 legislative session. The list included some changes to committees with health-related jurisdiction.

Senator Squadron previously chaired both the Cities Committee and the Social Services Committee. He will now only chair Social Services.

Senator Morahan will resume the role of Chair of the Mental Health Committee, a position he held under the Republican majority. Senator Shirley Huntley, the most recent chair of the committee will take on the leadership role of Deputy Majority Leader for Federal and State Relations as well as chair the Cities committee.

Senators Duane and Breslin remain chairs of the Health and Insurance Committees, respectively. Senator Diaz remains the Aging chair.

The full list of Senate Committees can be found here

January 20, 2010

Governor releases Executive Budget

Governor Paterson released his Executive Budget yesterday. Facing a projected $7.4 billion shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year, the Governor proposes to balance the budget with approximately $1.7 billion coming from the health care industry. The proposals are voluminous and cannot be given proper attention in this form - however, you may access bills, briefing books and various other budget-related materials here. The Joint Legislative Budget Hearing addressing the health budget will occur on Feburary 9.

February 8, 2010

Family Health Care Decisions Act moving through Senate

The Family Health Care Decisions Act, a bill that has been very important to many Section members, is moving its way through the Legislative process this year. The bill A 7729-D (Gottfried)/S. 3164-B (Duane) has already passed the Assembly. On the Senate side, it was reported from the Health Committee and is to be taken up by the Codes Committee tomorrow at 10:30 (Room 123 in the Capitol)

Health Hearing set for tomorrow - 2/9

The Senate and Assembly will hold the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing focusing on Health and Medicaid issues this coming Tuesday. The hearing begins at 10 am in Hearing Rm B of the Legislative Office Building.

Major proposals in the Governor's Executive Budget that will likely be discussed include:

- Soda tax and increased tax on cigarettes
- Provider reimbursement cuts/freezes
- Prior approval of health insurance premiums by the Insurance Department
- Code of conduct regulating interactions between health care professionals and pharmaceutical companies
- Changes to the Early Intervention program, including insurance mandates and parental fees
- Long term care financing demonstration projects

and much, much more.

See the Governor's Briefing book for a summary of these item, or the bills for specific language.

February 16, 2010

21 day budget amendments

Governor Paterson released amendments to his Executive Budget proposal last week. He had previously announced an additional budget shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year of $750 million (beyond that assumed in the Executive Budget), and as a result many had expected another hit to the healthcare industry to address continuing fiscal issues. However, the 21 day amendments were based on a revised fical plan that includes an anticipated $1.06 billion in federal support - thereby eliminating the need for significant additional cuts or revenue raisers. The federal FMAP funds are anticipated, but not yet approved by Congress as budget deliberations in Washington continue.

There are some changes to the Executive Budget proposal affecting the healthcare sector included in the 21 day amendments. For example:

- a proposal to temporarily eliminate the Healthy NY enrollment cap
- exclusion of the consumer directed personal care program from the proposed 12 cap on personal care; inclusion of CHHAs in such cap
- elmination of a proposal to change hospital indigent care payment methodology

The Governor's fact sheet detailing the amendments can be found here.

February 22, 2010

President Obama Releases Health Reform Proposal

President Obama released his health reform proposal today:

The proposal will make health care more affordable, make health insurers more accountable, expand health coverage to all Americans, and make the health system sustainable, stabilizing family budgets, the Federal budget, and the economy.

The entire proposal is available online at the White House website.

February 25, 2010

FHCDA Passes Senate

Before leaving town to avoid the impending snowstorm, the Senate passed the Family Health Care Decisions Act yesterday. The bill has already passed the Assembly and it is expected the Governor will sign it.

February 28, 2010

Health Reform and Budget Reconciliation

Leading up to last week's White House health care summit, NPR's Morning Edition aired a report on the history of the Congressional budget reconciliation process and its role in crafting health policy. The report argued that the process has been instrumental in reforming the health care system. Among the programs referenced in the report as created or changed through reconciliation are CHIP, COBRA, EMTALA and Medicare.

Listen to the report, or read the transcript, here.

March 2, 2010

Recent Legislative Activity

In an effort to keep readers up to date with goings on in the Capitol, even in the absence of significant action on major bills, I will be posting a selection of bills that are likely of interest to Section members as an "FYI." To keep information relevant, I am focusing on bills that are moving or have recently passed one house and have a companion in the other. However, please feel free to comment or contact me directly with feedback if more, less, or different information would be helpful.

A. 2008a (Gottfried)/S. 3930 (Duane) - This bill seeks to regulate pharmacy benefit managers and to establish a fiduciary duty on PBMs with respect to their dealings with health plans or providers. The bill recently passed the Assembly and remains in committee in the Senate.

A. 2263 (Gottfried)/S. 4499 (Duane) - This bill seeks to protect health care professionals from professional or criminal liability with respect to pain management services when they act within professional guidelines. The bill recently passed the Assembly and remains in committee in the Senate.

A. 5144 (Rivera, P)/S. 2449 (Parker) This bill directs DOH to contract with community organizations to distribute information regarding health care services available to immigrants. The bill recently passed the Assembly and remains in committee in the Senate.

March 12, 2010

Recent Legislative Activity

A 3787 Rosenthal/S 1990 Hannon: This bill would reduce the number of witnesses necessary for a health care proxy form from two to one, except in the case of individuals residing in mental health facilities. The bill passed the Senate on March 4. It is currently on the floor in the Assembly but has passed that house in the past.

http://www.assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A07617: This bill would require certain providers to offer information and counseling to terminal patients regarding palliative care. The bill has passed the Assembly and is currently before the Senate Health Committee.


March 18, 2010

Autism Mandate introduced

Senator Breslin and Assemblyman Morelle have introduced S. 7000a/A. 10374, which mandates health insurance coverage for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autsim spectrum disorder. The bill will be considered by the Senate Insurance Committee this morning.

March 25, 2010

Houses announce individual Budget positions

The Assembly released and passed a budget resolution yesterday, and also released amended versions of budget bills, providing a more detailed look at that house's position than the Senate resolution released and passed earlier in the week.

According to an Assembly press release, health highlights include:

Health The Assembly budget reduces health care cuts by $126 million, rejecting $32 million in cuts to hospitals, $25.9 million in cuts to nursing homes and $36.5 million in cuts to home health care. The plan also includes a measure that would shift all Medicaid administration costs from counties to the state to streamline eligibility and service determinations, implement operational efficiencies and consolidate services and contracts. It also increases HCRA funding by $218 million by raising the cigarette tax by $1 per pack.

The Assembly budget rejects the governor's proposal to institute parental fees for the Early Intervention program.

Insurance
The proposal reinstitutes the requirement that health insurance companies may not increase premiums on certain plans without prior approval from the Insurance Department.

The Assembly's health article VII bill can be found here
The Senate resolution can be found here

March 29, 2010

Recess begins, signalling late budget

Both houses of the Legislature have passed a short-term emergency spending bill that will continue basic state operations through April 11th in light of what now appears to be an inevitably late budget. Little progress was made over the weekend, and lawmakers have now left town for the Easter/Passover recess. They will not return to Albany until April 7.

April 6, 2010

Health Reform-related proposed Constitutional amendment introduced

Senator Seward, former chair and current ranking member of the Senate Insurance Committee, has introduced a proposed Constitutional amendment directed at insurance mandate provisions in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The bill, S. 7374, is relation to "preserving the freedom of New Yorkers to provide their health care."

April 15, 2010

Recent Legislative Activity

A 1726-B (Gottfried)/S. 4998-A (Duane): This legislation clarifies that physician's assistants, under the supervision of physicians, may perform various tasks related to the health care services they provide such as the signing of certifications, death certificates, etc. Governor Paterson signed this bill into law as Chapter 30 of the Laws of 2010.

Senate bill 369 (Morahan), which would create an autism diagnosis registry, has recently picked up a companion bill in the Assembly, sponsored by Assemblymember Hyer-Spencer, A 10498. Neither bill has moved from its respective health committee.

June 4, 2010

Budget extender said to include health care cuts

It is being widely reported that Governor Paterson's budget extender bill to be passed next, necessary to keep state government running in the absence of a budget, will include health care cuts. While bill text is not yet available, the Times Union blog and other sources have posted a list of expected cuts and industry representatives are reacting strongly.

The Governor promised the inclusion of cuts at this week's Leaders' meeting if the Legislature did not take action to enact a budget

June 9, 2010

Senate passes autism health insurance mandate

The Senate just passed S. 7000-B (Breslin) which mandates health insurance coverage for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder. The bill establishes a task force which will dermine precise treatment modalities to be included,however treatments must be medically-necessary, evidence-based and clinically-proven.

The Assembly is expected to take up the bill next week.

June 21, 2010

Austim Mandate passes Assembly

The bill, reported on laste last week, has now also passed the Assembly.

July 8, 2010

Legislative Update

A busy regular legislative session has once again wrapped up in Albany. Expect to see at least the Senate come back to town soon as work on the Budget is not yet complete. A broad range of legislation of interest to section members has passed both houses. While the bills will slowly be delivered to the Governor for signature or veto over the coming months, I will provide a glimpse into what is out there in a series of posts.

All of the below bills have passed both houses of the legislature, but have not yet been acted upon by the Governor:

A. 1719A Gottfried/S. 2947 Hannon - authorizes Nurse Practitioners to issue DNR orders

A. 5220B Magnarelli/S 2056 Valesky - creates the missing vulnerable adults clearinghouse

A 5255A Espaillat/S 7228A Stachowski - Creates the bioscience facilities development program

A 5653A Rosenthal/S4786A Krueger - Relates to copayments for prescription drugs

A 8117B Gottfried/S 5007A Duane - Relates to the definition of the practice of midwifery [This was a hotly contested bill during the legislative session. It removes the requirement for written practice agreements between midwives and physicians and replaces it with a "collaborative agreement."]

A 8285 Rosenthal/S 7517 Duane - Adds certain substances to the list of nonprescription drugs reimbursed by medicaid [allows DOH to add to list without notice and comment]

August 17, 2010

Governor Signs "Ian's Law", others

Governor Paterson has signed a bill, Ian's Law, that addresses the discontinuance of a class of health insurance policies when such action is based on claims experience or a health status-related factor. Although such an action is prohibited by current law, the new law strenghtens notice and enforcement provisions and creates a new process to provide certain insureds relief when they are negatively affected by a discontinuance, even when such action is entirely proper. Senator Schneiderman, the lead Senate sponsor of the bill and current attorney general candidate, achieved national press coverage on the issue.

Paterson also signed a bill making changes to the False Claims Act that will give OMIG increased jurisdiction and another allowing direct admission into "Enhanced Assisted Living Residences" - fixing what was largely seen as a technical flaw in the original 2005 Assisted Living Reform Act.

The Governor's press release indicating all bills recently acted upon is here

August 31, 2010

Paterson vetoes health care proxy bill

Governor Paterson has vetoed a bill which would reduce the number of required witnesses to a health care proxy from two to one. He cited the gap-filling nature of the Family Health Care Decisions Act and stated:

"I am reluctant to veto a measure designed to encourage people to
execute health care proxies, but I must do so here given the relative
ease of finding a second person to witness the execution of a proxy in
most cases and the potential for significant and possibly irreparable
harm resulting from a person wrongly exercising control over another's
personal health care decisions." (Veto message # 6788 of 2010)


October 4, 2010

Governor signs more health bills

Over the weekend, Governor Paterson signed a variety of bills with health law implications. They include:

S.4057-B/A.7515-B - Permits proof of a child's enrollment in the school meals program to serve as sufficient documentation of family income for purposes of determining the child's eligibility for Child Health Plus or Medicaid.

S.5000-B/A.8278-B, - Codifies the current regulatory authority of the State Insurance Department to disapprove requests from insurance carriers to create specialty drug pricing tiers.

S.7483A / A.10748-A: Enacts the "Hospital Closure Planning Act."

The Governor's full release is here

October 21, 2010

Autism Mandate Vetoed

Last night, Governor Paterson vetoed a bill which would mandate health insurance coverage for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. The bill was controversial with the autism advocacy community split over supporting it as a positive step or opposing because it didn't go far enough. The business community expressed concern about costs and implications in light of federal reform.

As of this posting, the Veto Message is not yet available so it is unclear what Paterson's reasons were. I will update as this information becomes available.

November 8, 2010

Medical Student Education is Part of Plan for Fighting Health Care Fraud

At a health care fraud prevention summit in Brooklyn on November 5, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius discussed the Obama administration's efforts to combat health care fraud and abuse. Among the topics of discussion was an Internet-based program to explain the federal fraud and abuse laws to medical students, "so they can comply with federal law, avoid liability and spot signs of potential fraud" when they become practicing physicians. Read more about the summit and find links to the medical student training program here.

December 1, 2010

National Debt Commission's Proposal Includes Medicaid Reforms

On December 1, President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform released its report with recommendations for reducing the United States debt. Pages 36 to 42 of the report focus on how reforming the health care system can contribute to this goal. Among the suggestions in the report are several Medicaid-related proposals such as restricting or eliminating what the Commission calls the "Medicaid tax gimmick," placing dual eligibles in Medicaid managed care, and reducing funding to states for Medicaid administrative costs. Other recommendations in the report include cutting Medicare payments to hospitals for bad debts, medical malpractice reform, and reforming or repealing the CLASS Act long term care insurance program established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Read the report here.

January 26, 2011

Budget Presentation planned for 2/1 at 1pm



Governor Cuomo will present his first Executive Budget proposal at 1pm on Tuesday, February 1. For those in the health care sector, budget activity has begun even before release of the formal proposal with the creation of the Medicaid Redesign Team ("MRT"). The MRT is currently holding hearings across the State to gather input from stakeholders as to how to control New York's ballooning Medicaid budget. The Team, comprised of various stakeholders, is charged with presenting short-term solutions to be included in the SFY 2011-12 final budget by March 1. As such, it is expected that much will change between the Executive budget proposal and a final agreement in the context of health care.

March 8, 2011

Confusion about the Status of Health Reform

Twenty-two percent of people participating in a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll believe the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act "has been repealed and is no longer law." View the poll here and then submit your thoughts to Supraspinatus.

May 25, 2011

Vermont's Single-Payer Health Care Bill Moves Ahead - NYTimes.com

Vermont's experiment with single payer is getting serious:

Many people move to Vermont in search of a slower pace; Dr. Deb Richter came in 1999 to work obsessively toward a far-fetched goal.

She wanted Vermont to become the first state to adopt a single-payer health care system, run and paid for by the government, with every resident eligible for a uniform benefit package. So Dr. Richter, a buoyant primary care doctor from Buffalo who had given up on New York's embracing such a system, started lining up speaking engagements and meeting with lawmakers, whom she found more accessible than their New York counterparts.

. . .

Twelve years later, Dr. Richter will watch Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, sign a bill on Thursday that sets Vermont on a path toward a single-payer system -- the nation's first such experiment -- thanks in no small part to her persistence.

Read the rest of the article on the New York Times website.

June 13, 2011

A job for doctors, not insurance companies - Times Union

The New York State Medical Society is pressing for passage of a bill that would permit physicians to negotiate collectively for higher fees. Paul Hamlin's editorial in the Albany TimesUnion argues that the legislation is necessary to "enhance the ability of our patients to obtain the care they need and . . . help counter the insurers' complete dominance of physicians and patients." The specific legislation cited is S.3186A (Hannon, R-Nassau) and A.2474A (Canestrari, D-Cohoes).

AED bills signed



Governor Cuomo has signed two bills requiring placement of automatic external defibrillators in certain settings.

Chapter 65 by Senator Golden and Assemblymember Farrell requires AEDs in dental offices.

Chapter 31 sponsored by Senator Ranzenhoffer and Assemblymember Spano requires AEDs at health clubs when they are staffed.

September 25, 2011

Recent Chapters and Vetos



On Friday, Governor Cuomo announced action on a series of bills, many of which are of interest to the health law community. The full press release can be found here.

Actions of interest include:

APPROVALS

A.6446 Brennan -- Increase the amount of bonds and notes for the New York state medical care facilities finance agency

Same as S.4200 HANNON

A.6902-A Hevesi -- Authorizes records of bodies of deceased persons to be kept by an electronic Log

Same as S.4622-A MARCELLINO


A.7368-A Dinowitz -- Relates to continuing care retirement communities

Same as S.4738-A GOLDEN


A.8179 Gottfried -- Relates to restricting duties which may be assigned to specialist's assistants in radiology

Same as S.5395 HANNON


A.8188-A Gibson (MS) -- Authorizes the dormitory authority to provide financing to the Primary Care Development Corporation for the construction of primary care facilities

Same as S.5645 HANNON


S.1303 DUANE -- Requires the state office for the aging to report on the delivery of services to and needs of traditionally underserved populations in their annual report to the governor and legislature

Same as A.880 Kellner


S.3111-B LARKIN -- Relates to establishing a certificate of still birth

Same as A.8178-A Galef


S.3988-B LANZA -- Requires coverage of orally administered chemotherapy treatments

Same as A.6233-B Lopez V


A.3304-A Gottfried (MS) -- Relates to health-related legal services programs

Same as S.5556 HANNON


A.4899-A Rosenthal (MS) -- Requires the provision of a model health care proxy form to individuals applying for medical assistance

Same as S.4830-A GALLIVAN


A.8322 Schroeder (MS) -- Relates to designating the ombudsman as an employee of the commissioner on quality of care and advocacy for persons with disabilities

Same as S.5792 MCDONALD


VETOES

A.8248 Gottfried -- Provides for the payment of capitated rates for services provided by assisted living programs, whether freestanding or not

Same as S.4918-A HANNON


S.4563-A SAVINO -- Relates to the practice of surgical technology and surgical technologists

Same as A.6539-B Cahill

S.4991-B HANNON -- Establishes the clinical information resource access program to provide information to medical institutions and facilities

Same as A.8202 Bing

S.3184-A LITTLE -- Relates to procedures, practices, and standards for actions by the office of medicaid inspector general and social services districts

Same as A.5686-A Gottfried

December 13, 2011

Cuomo approves mail order pharmacy bills



Governor Cuomo has approved two bills relating to health plans requiring the use of mail order pharmacy - one generally and the other in relation to fertility drugs.

These bills have attracted significant attention from both sides of the issue and there has been discussion of a chapter amendment to address some concerns. Both chapters are accompanied by approval messages which may be illuminating, however text is not yet available. I will be sure to pass along additional information of interest to the section as it becomes available.

January 12, 2012

2012-13 Budget Presenation Scheduled



Governor Cuomo will give his 2012-13 Executive Budget presentation next Tuesday, January 17.

WHEN: Tuesday, January 17, 2012

TIME: 2:00 PM

WHERE: Hart Theatre, Egg Center for Performing Arts

Albany, NY 12224

January 18, 2012

Cuomo Offers Budget With More Trims Than Deep Cuts - NYTimes.com

Today's NY Times highlights some pieces of Governor Cuomo's state of the State:

Mr. Cuomo also proposed saving more than $750 million by limiting planned increases on mental health programs and social services, including eliminating an automatic cost-of-living increase for nonprofit providers of services like foster care, adoption and family counseling.

Addressing a major concern of local governments, Mr. Cuomo proposed that the state gradually take over yearly increases in Medicaid expenses that are now shouldered by county governments and New York City.

Read the full article at the New York Times website, or visit the Governor's executive budget webpage directly.

January 20, 2015

NY AG Schneiderman Looks to Bolster State Privacy and Security Laws

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has called for an upgrade to the state's information security and privacy laws, according to a press release issued by the AG's office January 15th.

Given the prevalence and increase of data breaches over the past several years, it is clear that New York - and the United States as a whole - is in need of progressive legislation to protect consumers and businesses.

The AG intends to make New York's data protection laws the strongest in the nation.

February 5, 2015

Republicans Finally Muster a Counter to the Affordable Care Act

After five years of busily passing symbolic legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act, Republicans in Congress have at long last come up with an alternative proposal, covered here by the New York Times:

Three influential Republican members of Congress unveiled a comprehensive proposal on Wednesday to replace President Obama's health care overhaul with an alternative that would halt the expansion of Medicaid and scale back subsidies for middle-income people to buy private insurance.

The plan, drafted with encouragement from Republican leaders in the Senate and the House, would retain some consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act, but would reduce federal regulation of insurance policies. States would have more authority to specify the "essential health benefits" that must be provided by insurance. As an example, the federal government would no longer require insurance policies to include coverage for maternity care.

Read the full article here.

Without commenting on the merits of the Republican proposal, the fact that there is at least some kind of alternative plan to discuss will be helpful to reform as a whole. It will spark new ideas and directions for health reform, or it will solidify the position of the ACA and dispel some of the misgivings, either of which advances the discussion. Until now, the Republican position on health reform has largely been: "I don't know, just not the Affordable Care Act."

About Legislation

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to HEALTH LAW SECTION BLOG in the Legislation category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Laws and Regulations is the previous category.

Long Term Care is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.