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Legislature convenes to pass COVID-19 legislation

This past week, both houses of the Legislature convened semi-remotely to vote on a package of COVID-19-related legislation. The package includes 32 bills that passed both houses and are now awaiting delivery to the governor for his consideration, including the following bills of interest to HANYS and our members:

Audio and video-only telehealth – authorizes audio-only telephone communications as an acceptable telehealth modality and allows audio-only services to be reimbursed under the Medicaid program to the extent allowed pursuant to Department of Health regulations and contingent upon federal financial participation. The bill also adds video-only services to the list of acceptable modalities the Commissioner of Health may authorize for the delivery of certain telehealth services. A.10404-A (Rosenthal)/S.8416 (Metzger).

Medical supply price gouging – expands the scope of New York’s price gouging statute to include essential medical supplies and services. Currently, only consumer goods are subject to New York’s price gouging law. A.10270 (Rozic)/S.8189 (Hoylman).

Healthcare employee retaliation – protects healthcare employees against employer retaliation if they report violations of “improper quality of workplace safety.” The bill also adds "news media outlets" and "social media forums" to the list of entities an employee may report violations of patient care or workplace safety to without threat of employer retaliation for the reporting. A.10326-A (Reyes)/S.8397-A (Savino).

Residential healthcare facility pandemic emergency plan – requires RHCFs to prepare an annual pandemic emergency plan. The bill includes baseline requirements to be included in the pandemic emergency plan, including a communication plan that provides frequent updates to the families of residents, a plan to maintain access to at least a two-month supply of personal protective equipment and a plan for preserving a resident's place in a RHCF should the resident be hospitalized. A.10394-A (Lentol)/S.8289-B (Salazar).

NYC contract tracer diversity requirement – requires New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation to hire contact tracers who are representative of the cultural and linguistic diversity of the communities in which they will serve. A.10447-A (Joyner)/S.8362-A (Serrano).

DOH COVID-19 disparities study – requires the Department of Health to conduct a study on the differential health impacts of COVID-19 on racial and ethnic minorities in New York state. A.10517 (Aubry)/S.8245-A (Parker).

Pharmacist administration of COVID-19 immunizations – adds COVID-19 to the list of diseases for which a licensed physician or nurse practitioner may prescribe a patient-specific order or non-patient-specific regimen to a licensed pharmacist for administering immunizations. A.10508-A (Paulin)/S.8182-A (Hoylman).

HANYS will continue to provide updates on bills of interest that have passed both houses. Bills that pass both houses of the Legislature must go to the governor for his approval or veto. Contact: Scott Janke

Published May 29, 2020