2016 Legislature

LEGISLATURE PUTS IN ONE HOUSE BUDGET BILLS; NEGOTIATIONS TO BEGIN IN EARNEST

The Senate and Assembly one house bills were posted over the weekend. While DGA staff continues to analyze the provisions of the bills, below are highlights of what we have read thus far.
 
1.    After strenuous advocacy by MSSNY and other advocacy groups, each House added $25M in their one House budget bills to restore funding for the Excess program. In addition they included language to continue the Excess program as is and to continue the Superintendent’s authority to set medical malpractice rates. Physicians should thank their elected officials for proposing to restore this funding and continue to urge restoration of this cut as the final Budget is being negotiated. Click here for a letter you can send to your elected representatives.

2.    The Senate included the Governor’s retail clinic language which would allow publicly traded corporations to own and operate limited service clinics in retail space they own without regard for public need. The Assembly advanced language which would, importantly, not allow publicly traded corporations to own and operate retail clinics but which seeks to regulate practices that rent space in retail establishments by, among other things, requiring them to be accredited; limit the type of services which can be provided and prohibit them from delivering care to children under the age of two. The corporately owned retail clinic language remains in play. Click here to send a letter of opposition to this proposal to your legislators

3.    After strenuous advocacy by MSSNY and other advocacy groups, neither House included any of the workers’ compensation language we opposed. While this is a very positive development, we must keep the pressure on by reaching out to your elected representatives if you haven’t yet done so by sending a letter found here
 
4.    The Senate bill includes language to require the commissioner of health to develop an elder abuse screening tool. Physicians, PAs and NPs are permitted (not required) to use the tool to identify abuse or maltreatment of their patients. The language also calls for the establishment of an interagency clearinghouse for reported cases involving physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, active, passive or self-neglect, financial exploitation or other hazardous situations which could jeopardize the health and wellbeing of an individual and calls for the creation of multidisciplinary teams for the purpose of investigating reports of suspected elder abuse. The proposal would also authorize a financial institution to disallow a transaction if it believes that financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult is occurring.
 
5.    The Senate bill included legislation strongly supported by MSSNY which would exempt low volume providers from the eRx mandate and allow prescribers invoking an exception to the mandate to make a notation in the patient’s medical record instead of calling DOH (currently required by law). 
 
6.    Senate bill sets aside an additional $12M in new funding for 100 new loan forgiveness/practice support slots as part of the Doctors Across New York. The bill would reduce from five to three the number of years of service associated with the support and would allow for $40,000 in loan forgiveness/practice support each year up to $120,000 for each new recipient.
 
7.    Each House would restore existing ”prescriber prevails” protections in the Medicaid and Medicaid Managed Care program. 
 
8.    Each House devotes a significant amount of new money ($26M (Senate) and $32M (Assembly)) to address substance abuse with significant money flowing for prevention and treatment services, recovery support services and recovery community centers. In addition, the Assembly would require OASAS to: develop educational materials for schools and require schools to make Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment referrals; develop materials for pharmacies to distribute regarding drug addiction, treatment and disposal of drugs; develop SBIRT materials; develop SUD materials for physicians for voluntary distribution to patients and require hospitals to establish policies regarding referral of individuals in need of SUD treatment.
 
9.    $990,000 for CPH included by both Houses.
 
With regard to Health Republic, neither House added a specific allocation for the reimbursement of providers for services provided to HR patients; nor did either House include language to create a Guarantee Fund for health insurer failures such as HR. However, it is expected that each House will separately include in other materials a call for the Governor to identify a specific fund for that purpose. The Senate bill would, however, eliminate the requirement for prior approved of health insurance premium rates and would establish a requirement that within thirty days deeming an insurer insolvent, the superintendent must apply for a liquidation order.  

ALL PHYSICIANS SHOULD IMMEDIATELY CLICK HERE TO CONTACT THEIR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES TO URGE ENACTMENT OF A GUARANTEE FUND OR INDETIFICATION OF A POOL OF MONIES TO REIMBURSE HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS FOR THE SERVICES RENDERED TO PATIENTS PREVIOUSLY INSURED BY HEALTH REPUBLIC
 
The conference committees are expected to begin to meet March 15.
 
We will keep you informed of discussions which ensue throughout the next couple of weeks.
 
Best Regards,
Liz. Moe, Pat and James