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Update on State Healthcare Legislation: Package of Bills Delivered to Governor

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New York State legislative activity has resumed as the Legislature this week delivered a package of nearly 90 bills to the Governor for consideration.  Following action on this package of legislation, there will be 138 additional bills that still require the Governor’s approval or veto before the end of the calendar year. 

HANYS’ comprehensive legislative summary chart reflects the most recent status of healthcare-related bills.  Bills that have not yet been delivered to the Governor include telemedicine coverage (S.7852, Young/A.9129-A, Russell) and a repeal of the annual notice requirement of the Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2010 (S.5885-B, Savino/A.8106-C, Heastie). 

The package of bills sent to the Governor this week includes several healthcare-related proposals, including four bills related to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), one related to Office of Mental Health (OMH), a drug disposal demonstration program, and two bills related to the use of accelerated death benefits:

  • Task Force on Adults with Developmental Disabilities (S.6659-A, Carlucci/A.8835-A).  Establishes within OPWDD a task force on adults with developmental disabilities to study, evaluate, and develop recommendations to support and meet the needs of adults with developmental disabilities, including vocational, residential, and social needs.
  • “People First Act of 2014” (S.1109-D, Maziarz/A.8452, Gunther).  Requires OPWDD, subject to available appropriations, to conduct a geographic analysis of supports and services in community settings for individuals with developmental disabilities, including identifying gaps between required supports and services by region of the state.
  • “Front Door” Process for People with Developmental Disabilities (S.6641-C, Carlucci/A.8846-C, Weisenberg).  Requires OPWDD, in collaboration with the Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council, to develop a plan for implementing the “front door” process to allocate resources to meet the needs of people with developmental disabilities and their families.
  • Developmental Disability Individual Support and Care Coordination Organizations (DISCOs) (S.7400-B, Carlucci/A.9766-A, Gunther).  Clarifies that DISCOs, established in last year’s final budget, would be under the regulatory oversight of OPWDD and that affiliation arrangements will be with entities that are non-profit and that have experience providing residential, day, and employment services.
  • OMH Community Housing Wait List (S.5228-A, Carlucci/A.7721-A, Gunther).  Requires OMH to establish a community housing wait list for individuals seeking housing within the OMH service system.  Agencies or institutions, including hospitals and nursing homes, would be required every 60 days to provide OMH with a list of individuals whom it referred to a housing services provider.
  • Drug Disposal Demonstration Program (S.3985-A, Grisanti/A.5465-A, Sweeney).  Requires the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in consultation with the Division of the State Police, to establish a demonstration drug disposal program by June 1, 2015 to determine the most effective method for drug disposal.  The program would create at least three disposal sites that would be available to the public.
  • Use of Accelerated Death Benefits for Long-Term Care Services (S.6672-A, Klein/A.8957-A (Gjonaj).  Allows for the use of accelerated death benefits if an individual has been the recipient of end-of-life or palliative care for at least three months at a nursing home, home care agency, or hospice, and is expected to continue to require those services until death.  This builds on a law enacted in 2010 (Chapter #563) that allowed for accelerated death benefits to be utilized to pay for long-term care services if the individual was a nursing home resident for three months and was expected to remain in the nursing home until death. 
  • Accelerated Death Benefits Waiting Period (S.6507-A, Seward/A.9154-A, Cymbrowitz).  Current law requires accelerated death benefit payments to be held for 14 days after application; this bill would reduce the waiting period to five days. 

Earlier this fall, the Governor signed into law other healthcare-related bills:

  • Insurance Coverage of Ostomy Equipment and Supplies (Chapters #364 and #377 of 2014).  This new law, along with the chapter amendment, requires insurance coverage of equipment and supplies used for the treatment of ostomies.  The coverage is subject to annual deductibles and coinsurance as deemed appropriate by the Department of Financial Services and is identical to the coverage required as part of the essential health benefits established pursuant to the federal Affordable Care Act.
  • Leave of Absence for Volunteer Emergency Responders (Chapters #376 and #393). This new law, along with its chapter amendment, would require an employer, following a governmental declaration of emergency, to grant a leave of absence to an employee, upon the employee’s request and subject to meeting certain criteria, if that employee is a volunteer firefighter or member of a volunteer ambulance service.  The leave of absence would be unpaid, excused leave, or charged against other leave.
  • Justice Center Investigations (Chapter #394).  Requires the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs to develop protocols and procedures to ensure the safety of vulnerable persons during the investigation process.
  • Statewide Immunization Information System (Chapter #420).  Adds registered nurses (RNs) and pharmacists to the list of “authorized users” for the statewide immunization information system.  This law also requires RNs and pharmacists to report the immunization, with the consent of the individual, to DOH through the immunization information system and, in New York City, to the citywide registry. 
  • Automatic Prescription Refills (Chapter #413).  Prohibits pharmacies from delivering new or refilled prescriptions off premises without getting consent of the patient, including a signature of acceptance or consent to deliver.  This law allows for automatic refill programs that are opt-in and updated with patient consent every 180 days.  This law does not apply to long-term care pharmacies. 

Contact: Nick Henley

Published November 12, 2014