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Assembly Health Committee Update

The Assembly Committee on Health favorably reported 31 bills at meetings on April 29, May 6, May 13, and May 20, including legislation restricting the sale of liquid nicotine, ensuring that physicians can treat Lyme Disease without fear of professional discipline, and authorizing schools to stock and administer epi-pens.

Tuesday, April 29

Managed Care Patients’ Rights – Assures that a patient who is being treated for a terminal illness can still have access to the health care practitioner who is treating him/her even if the practitioner leaves the patient’s health plan network. (A366B, Dinowitz)

Hospital Environmental Health and Safety Notice – Requires hospitals to provide notice of environmental health and safety hazards to employees and patients. (A920, Englebright)

Podiatric Access – Provides Medicaid managed care enrollees access to the services of a clinic run by a school of podiatric medicine (similar to the provision for dental school clinics). (A1071C, Rodriguez)

Protecting Access to Care – Requires the Health Department to ensure the preservation of access to necessary services when it considers applications for hospital mergers, construction, etc. (A3963A, Pretlow)

Women’s Health Website – Directs the Department of Health to establish a website for women’s health initiatives. (A4465A, Galef)

Expanding Home Care Options – Authorizes continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) to offer home care services to clients that live in their own home rather than in the CCRC’s residence. (A4611B, Schimminger)

Credentialing for Group Practices – Requires insurers to expedite review of applications of health care professionals who are joining a group practice and grant provisional credentials to these professionals (A6426A, Cusick)

Tuesday, May 6

Well Water Education Act – Requires the Department of Health to prepare educational materials on the importance of testing drinking water wells. Real estate agents would provide the material to buyers of homes served by wells. (A1039, Jaffee)

State Diabetes Coordinator – Establishes a state diabetes coordinator within the Department of Health. (Ortiz, 5869)

Lyme Disease Treatment and Protection – Lyme disease is an extremely complex illness to test for, and symptoms vary among patients. This bill protects physicians from disciplinary actions for treating patients who show symptoms but test negative. (Barrett, 7558A).

Tuesday, May 13

Residents Right to Sue Adult Homes – Lets adult home residents go to court for a court-appointed receiver to operate the adult home when the operator has endangered the health, safety, or welfare of the residents. (A2368A, Weinstein)

Regional Balance in Workforce Training Grants – Requires that each region receive at least 2.5% of the total health workforce retraining grant program funds. (A4610, Russell)

Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention – Establishes the Eating Disorders Awareness And Prevention Program within the Department of Health. (A5294A, Gunther)

Veterans Long-Term Care Choices – Allows honorably discharged military veterans, their widow or spouse, and eligible Gold Star parents to be served by the state veterans homes or adult day care at a state veterans home without enrolling in Medicaid managed care or Medicaid long term care plans. (A8917, Schimel)

Liquid Nicotine Sales Restrictions – Prohibits sale of liquid nicotine to minors. (A9299A, Rosenthal)

Midwife-Led Birth Centers – Authorizes a midwifery birth center licensed under Article 28 to operate under direction of a physician or midwife. The Department of Health will issue regulations using state and national professional association standards. (A9398, Gottfried)

Assisted Living Facility Closure Requirements – Requires operators of a for-profit assisted living residence to submit written notices of closure at least 180 days in advance and include a proposed plan for closure and decertification. (Millman, 9428A)

Tuesday, May 20

Safe Staffing Levels – Requires the Department of Health to set nurse staffing standards for hospitals and nursing homes, to increase quality of care.  (Gottfried, A6571)

Authorizing Epi-Pens in Schools – Authorizes schools to stock and administer epinephrine auto-injectors (“epi-pens”) for use in an emergency. (Abinanti, A7791A)

Requiring Epi-Pens in Schools – Requires schools to stock and administer epinephrine auto-injectors (“epi-pens”) for use in an emergency. (Rosenthal, A8249)

Physical Fitness Education Program – Establishes a physical fitness and activity education campaign within the Department of Health. (Cusick, A9403)

Technical Corrections to Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Orders – Repeals sections of Public Health Law related to DNRs that are now covered by the Family Health Care Decisions Act. (Gunther, A9548)

Adult Immunization Registry – Authorizes nurses and pharmacists who do immunizations to use the statewide immunization information system and requires them to report immunizations to the system with the patient’s consent. (Paulin, A9561)

Artificial Nutrition and Hydration Standards – The Family Health Care Decisions Act provides that surrogates must make decisions about artificial nutrition and hydration based on a patient’s wishes or, if no wishes are known, the patient’s best interest. However, the 1990 health care proxy law only allows the health care agent to make these decisions based on the patient’s expressed wishes. This bill applies the FHCDA standard to decisions under health care proxies. (Rosenthal, A9566A)

Maternal Depression Screening and Education – Requires the Department of Health to develop screening, referral, and education plans for maternal depression. Acknowledges the role of the pediatrician in screening for maternal depression. (A9610, Gottfried)

Autopsy Information for Quality Assurance – Requires medical examiners and coroners to provide autopsy findings to the hospital at which a patient died, to facilitate hospital performance review and quality assurance measures. (A9611, Gottfried)

Technical Corrections to Family Health Care Decisions Act – Makes technical and coordinating amendments regarding health care proxies and non-hospital do-not-resuscitate orders under the Family Health Care Decisions Act. (A9647, Clark)

Medical Futility Standard – For over 20 years under previous do-not-resuscitate (DNR) law, a surrogate could consent to a DNR order if the patient met any one of four clinical criteria, one of which was a finding of “medical futility” by two physicians. The current Family Health Care Decisions Act, however, does not have a standard for “medical futility.” This bill restores the previous medical futility standard. (A9648, Gottfried)

Traumatic Brain Injury Best Practices – Directs the Commissioner of Health to produce a report on best practices for management and treatment of traumatic brain injuries in children and adolescents. (Benedetto, A9651)

Surrogate and Hospital Dispute Resolution – The Family Health Care Decisions Act states that if a surrogate directs provision of life-sustaining treatment but the hospital does not wish to provide it, the hospital must either comply with the surrogate, transfer the patient, or seek court review. This bill clarifies that the hospital may prevail if it is carrying out the patient’s own decision. (A9670, Pretlow)

Determining Patient Incapacity – This bill amends Public Health Law and Surrogate Court Procedure in order to improve the process of determining patient incapacity to make health care decisions. (A9671, Pretlow)