Tag maternal and child health

Assembly Health Committee Year in Review

Assembly Health Committee Year-End Update

The Assembly Health Committee wrapped up 2017 with 34 bills signed into law and 19 vetoed, including four which were vetoed with specific agreement for further administrative actions. Some bills were signed or vetoed based on agreements to enact changes in 2018. (A governor often raises concerns and wants changes in a bill after it has been passed by the Legislature. This usually happens after the Legislature has adjourned for the year. It is not widely known to the public, but in New York it is common for a governor to insist that the leaders of the Legislature agree to changes in a bill as a condition of the governor signing it. If the legislative leaders and the bill’s sponsors agree, the governor then signs the bill and the Legislature enacts the changes early in the following year.)

The Assembly Health Committee also held public hearings including:

  • Home care workforce adequacy.
  • Adult home oversight and funding.
  • Health care services in state prisons and local jails.
  • Nursing home quality of care and enforcement.
  • Water quality budget implementation.
  • Immigrant access to healthcare.

Below are summaries of bills acted on by the Governor as well as the public hearings.

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.

Huffington Post: New York State Will Cover Breast Milk Donations For Preemies From Low-Income Families

By Caroline Bologna, 4/24/17

New York recently became the latest state to cover breast milk donations for babies from low-income families.

On April 9, the New York State Legislature approved the 2017-18 state budget, which includes a provision granting Medicaid coverage for donor breast milk to premature babies in the NICU. The measure received bipartisan support.

“We are putting our babies first and our legislators understand that,” executive director of the New York Milk Bank, Julie Bouchet-Horwitz, told The Huffington Post. Bouchet-Horwitz noted that “all babies, regardless of the economic status of their parents,” deserve access to pasteurized donor human milk (PDHM) when their own mothers’ milk is not available or sufficient.

Albany Times-Union – Lawmakers call to fund donor breast milk for premature babies

By Rick Karlin, 3/27/17

As they have with several measures that have bubbled up in recent weeks, lawmakers are reviving a bill that was vetoed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year with instructions that it should be a part of the budget package.

Both GOP Sen. Kemp Hannon and Democratic Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who head their respective health committees, on Monday urged passage of a measure that would allow Medicaid to cover the cost of donated breast milk, which they said can be a life-saving nutrient to premature infants who develop necrotizing enterocolitis, a serious intestinal ailment that can hit such babies.

LongIsland.com – NYS Legislators Call For Adequate Financial Support For Donor Breast Milk

May 23, 2016

Albany, NY – May 23, 2016 – Today Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Health, Kemp Hannon, and Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages were joined by Chair of the Assembly Standing Committee on Health Richard N. Gottfried and Assembly member Steve Englebright  in calling for the passage of A9353A/S.6583.  This bill would ensure adequate financial support for the use of donated, pasteurized breast milk – a life-saving, cost-effective treatment for high-risk, premature infants born at less than 3 ½ pounds.  If signed into law, New York will join California, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Utah and Washington D.C. in providing insurance coverage for donor human milk.

“Equal access to donor breast milk will positively impact the life chances of our state’s tiniest and most critically ill babies, said Assembly member Michaelle C. Solages.

“Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to provide a child a healthy start in life. While a mother’s own milk is the optimal nutrition for her baby, donor breast milk is the next best option for mothers who are unable to produce breast milk or infants who are unable to receive maternal breast milk. This legislation will ensure infants in need of such nourishment are able to receive donated, pasteurized breast milk.” stated Senator and Senate Health Committee Chair Kemp Hannon

“Providing Medicaid coverage of donor breast milk is a health equity issue,” said Assembly member and Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried. “More than 70% of pre-term births in New York State are covered by Medicaid,” he added.

PBS News Hour: Postpartum mom says depression screening would have made all the difference

By Victoria Pasquantonio, 1/27/16

Paige Bellenbaum with her husband and two chidren.

Paige Bellenbaum, posing with her husband and two chidren, says a visit to a clinic helped her manage her own postpartum depression.

Paige Bellenbaum sat on a New York City park bench several years ago with her baby son, Max, when she saw another new mom staring adoringly at her own baby.

“And she looked at me and said, ‘Isn’t it wonderful?’” Bellenbaum said. “I looked back at her and I said, ‘No, not really, it’s actually the hardest thing I’ve ever done.’” The new mother’s smile faded as tears welled up in her eyes. “I’m so glad you said that,” she said.

Bellenbaum, who battled severe postpartum depression, said Tuesday’s announcement by a government-appointed task force, which recommends medical professionals screen women who are pregnant or who have recently given birth, was a step in the right direction in the fight to improve women’s mental health. According to the report, the 2009 task force had recommended depression screenings for all adults but had not specifically included pregnant and women who gave birth.