Tag health care

City and State: Federal uncertainty keeps New York’s health care agenda in limbo

November 20, 2017

Health care legislation in Albany during the 2018 session will be largely affected by decisions made in Washington. State Sen. Kemp Hannon, chairman of the Senate Health Committee, said the state Legislature would be “very careful” and will be “watching what happens” in Congress this year when deliberating health care issues.

Last week, U.S. Senate Republicans launched another effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act by including a measure in their sweeping tax reform proposal to eliminate the requirement that Americans buy health insurance or face a fine.

Additionally, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which gives federal aid to provide medical coverage for low-income children, expired on Oct. 1. Nearly 700,000 children in New York state were enrolled in CHIP as of last year, according to Medicaid data.

City and State: Winners and Losers, 11/17/17

November 16, 2017

A week and a half after the general election, a few of the races that were too close to call have finally been resolved. Two of the victors landed on this week’s list, along with a few lawmakers who notched legislative victories, several commissioners who committed unforced errors and more.

WINNERS

Chris Collins & Tom Reed – While some of their colleagues in the state’s Republican congressional delegation don’t agree, these two Western New Yorkers were happy to vote for the controversial tax reform proposal that passed in the House this week. Reed helped craft a key compromise on local and state tax deductions that advanced the plan, while Collins said it will save his constituents money. What’s more, the federal government declared Lake Ontario a disaster zone after spring flooding, another top priority for Collins.

Richard Gottfried & Diane Savino – The Manhattan assemblyman and the Staten Island state senator’s legislation allowing medical marijuana to be used for treating post-traumatic stress disorder was signed into into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Veterans Day, expanding the list of ailments that may legally be treated by cannabis. In a state where any legislative action can be incredibly slow, the bill passed with bipartisan majorities, and was touted by the governor as part of a package supporting veterans, making it a high point for the lawmakers.

Staten Island Advance: PTSD to be added as a qualifying condition for NY’s medical marijuana program

By Tracey Porpara, November 11

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo will sign a bipartisan bill to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition for New York’s medical marijuana program, he announced on Saturday – Veterans Day.

This action will make New York is the 28th state to allow medical marijuana to be used to treat PTSD.

“We thank Gov. Cuomo for his support of this compassionate bill. No one should have to leave the state to have access to a treatment that might help them have a better quality of life,” said Landon Dais, political director for the Marijuana Policy Project of New York.

Assembly Health Committee chair Richard N. Gottfried, sponsor of the bill, said, “Governor Cuomo’s action reflects growing recognition of the value of medical marijuana, and is another welcome step in the expanding and strengthening of New York’s medical marijuana program.”

Twenty-eight of the 29 states with medical marijuana programs will now allow patients with PTSD to qualify. In the only state that does not, Alaska, marijuana is legal and regulated for adults 21 and older. Bills to add PTSD to state medical marijuana programs were signed into law in Colorado, New Hampshire, and Vermont this year.

Since its launch nearly two years ago, New York State’s Medical Marijuana Program has certified 35,621 patients, and has 1,316 practitioners registered, said Jill Montag, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health.

Times-Union: Will New York’s school health centers survive Medicaid change?

November 1, 2017

ALBANY — The number of New York public schools with on-site health centers has nearly doubled in the past two decades, with data showing benefits to both student health and academics.

But a looming change in the way these centers are reimbursed for Medicaid patients could cause them to scale back services or close altogether, officials warned Tuesday at a news conference in the Legislative Office Building.

State legislators and health and education leaders called on the governor to sign legislation that would halt the change, by granting school-based health centers a permanent “carve-out,” or exemption, from the state’s Medicaid Managed Care program.

“Forcing school-based health centers into Medicaid managed care plans will wreck a model that works,” said Assembly Health Chair Richard Gottfried, who co-sponsored the legislation with Sen. James Seward.

City & State: Legislation could provide more funding to adult home care providers in exchange for quality of care improvements

By Dan Rosenblum, October 19

Adult home care providers are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill that would increase subsidies for those who house and care for seniors and adults with disabilities. Advocates for residents say any subsidy boost should be tied to additional oversight measures to guard against excessive salaries for facility managers, poor quality programs and fiscal mismanagement.

Legislative Gazette: Lawmakers and educators push to save school based health centers

By Thomas Pudney, November 1

Lawmakers and health care and education experts are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign legislation they say will ease financial burdens on school based health centers.

The legislation, sponsored in the Assembly by Richard Gottfried, D–Manhattan, and in the Senate by James Seward, R–Oneonta, would maintain the current system, by which SBHC are directly reimbursed by Medicaid which allows the clinics to keep overhead and administrative costs low.

The state Department of Health is planning to change the reimbursement system as of July 1, 2018 when SBHCs will be required to negotiate the terms and conditions of payment through managed care plans. A report by the Children’s Defense Fund found that this transition will cost SBHCs over $16 million in lost revenue. Already, SBHCs have suffered over $7 million, or nearly 30 percent in funding cuts since 2008, while their patient population has grown.

Crain’s New York: State issues emergency regs on how it pays home care workers for 24-hour shifts

By Caroline Lewis, October 13

The state Department of Labor has issued an emergency update to its minimum-wage regulations that reinforces its longstanding guidance to home health care employers to pay workers for just 13 hours of a 24-hour shift.

The policy, known as the ’13-hour rule,’ helps control state spending on home care, which accounts for about 11% of the Medicaid budget. But it conflicts with three New York appellate court decisions issued in April and September that threw the home care industry into a panic.

The rulings said home health aides who don’t live full time with their elderly or disabled clients should be paid for every hour of a 24-hour shift. Although the Labor Department says workers don’t need to be paid for time spent sleeping and eating, the courts ruled they should be paid as long as they’re required to be at work.

Gotham Gazette: Amid Health Care Funding Fights, Cuomo Explores Special Session

By Rachel Silberstein, October 12

Governor Andrew Cuomo has been floating the idea of a special legislative session to address federal cuts to the state’s health care programs, as well as other concerns that have developed, since the state budget was agreed to in April.

In that budget, Cuomo pushed to include and won a provision granting him nearly unilateral power to adjust the state’s financial plan mid-year in the event of at least $800 million in federal cuts to the state. In April, the governor said the provision would ensure that “we do not overcommit ourselves financially” and indicated it allowed him to sign off on a budget that did not otherwise account for likely federal cuts. But, it appears as if Cuomo may call lawmakers back to Albany — likely with agreement from the legislative majorities to an agenda — regardless of whether the threshold has been met.

Adirondack Almanac: North Country Looks At Single-Payer Health Care

By Bill Quinlivan, October 7

Recently, residents from around the North Country assembled in the Long Lake Town Hall to hear and participate in a meeting dedicated to better understanding the New York Health Act, the projected savings for Adirondack communities of this single-payer health-insurance program and where it currently stands in the state legislature.

Dr. Jack Carney of the North Country Access to Health Care Committee and member of the Long Lake Alliance moderated the evening’s program.  The program featured Dr. Andrew Coates as the keynote speaker.  Dr. Coates is assistant professor of medicine and psychiatry at Albany Medical College and past president of Physicians for a National Health Plan.

City & State: State single-payer health care could be supported by Cuomo

By Grace Segers, October 5

Last month, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the once and perhaps future presidential candidate, unveiled legislation to create a single-payer health care system. U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, another potential presidential candidate in 2020, was one of 16 senators to sign on as a co-sponsor of the Medicare for All Act. And Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who’s also on short lists of likely Democratic presidential contenders, offered his support for the proposal as well.

In an interview on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show,” Cuomo called the federal plan, which would make health care universal and publicly funded by the taxpayer, “a good idea.”