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Assembly Health Committee Update, 1/21/16

Assembly Health Committee Update

The Assembly Committee on Health favorably reported 22 bills at its first meeting of the 2016 session on January 21.

The Committee reported the bill to establish safe staffing requirements in hospitals and nursing homes (A8580, Gunther). The evidence is clear that having enough nurses on staff has a direct impact on the quality of patient care. Research published by the American Medical Association estimates five additional deaths per 1,000 patients in hospitals with an 8-to-1 patient-to-nurse ratio compared to those with just a 4-to-1 ratio. More nurses per patient means fewer deaths and improves patient outcomes. It is well documented that hospitals with better staff ratios have lower rates of problems such as pneu­monia, shock, and cardiac arrest.

The ratios in the bill are based on academic and evidence-based studies. The Health Department could also set more demanding and specific ratios. California was the first state to mandate nurse staffing ratios and it has seen significant improvements in outcomes for both patients and staff.

For more information on a particular bill, please contact the sponsor listed after the description. For the text of a bill, supporting memorandum, and information on its status, go to:

Genetic Disease Screening and Counseling – Authorizes grants for familial dysautonomia, Canavan’s and Tay-Sachs disease screening and counseling. (A126, Dinowitz)

Adult Home Residents Right to Sue – 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. (A154A, Weinstein) 

May Assembly Health Committee Update

The Assembly Committee on Health favorably reported 18 bills in May, including legislation expanding farmworker protections against pesticides; requiring screening of newborns for congenital heart defects; offering vision care in school-based health centers; and increasing the purchasing age for tobacco from 18 to 19.  For more information on a particular bill, please contact the sponsor listed after the description.  For the text of a bill, supporting memorandum, and information on its status, go to:

Tuesday, May 7

Displaying Human Remains – Prohibits the commercial display of human remains, with limited exceptions.  (A287A, Kavanagh)

Farm Worker Pesticide Protection – Expands worker protection standards and guidelines for protection from pesticides on farms.  (A5028, Englebright)

Optometrist Clinical Laboratory Testing – Allows optometrists, like other practitioners, to perform certain clinical laboratory tests without a lab license.  (A6724, Gottfried)

Wednesday, May 22

Children’s Camp Oversight – Requires single-purpose children’s day camps to obtain permits and liability insurance.  Under existing law, only camps that have two or more activities are subject to Department of Health regulation.  (A2193B, Paulin)

Newborn Heart Defect Screening –  Adds pulse oximetry screenings for critical congenital heart defects to the list of required hospital tests for newborns, as recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.  (A2316B, Gunther)

Medicaid Managed Care Dental Rate-Setting – Authorizes the Commissioner of Health to set reimbursement rates for dental services covered under the Medicaid Managed Care program.  (A2930, Wright)

Save Our Sight Program – Establishes the Save Our Sight Program and Fund to educate children on proper vision care.  (A4057, Wright)
Tobacco Purchasing Age – Increases the purchasing age for tobacco products from 18 years of age to 19.  (A6393, Galef)

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Certification Extender – Eight counties and the New York City Fire Department currently operate a demonstration program in which EMTs can be re-certified every 5 years instead of every 3. The program is scheduled to sunset in 2013 and this bill extends it by 5 years.  (A7170, Sweeney)

Vision Care in School-Based Health Centers – Allows vision services offered in school health clinics under Medicaid to be covered outside Medicaid managed care plans, in a program where a charitable foundation provides free frames and lenses, and provides for setting Medicaid payment rates.  (A7342, Gottfried)
Wednesday, May 29
Credentialing Central Service Technicians – Sets guidelines for certifying central service technicians for hospital and ambulatory surgical center facilities.  (A878, Bronson)

Qualifications for Medical Examiners and Coroners – Requires the Commissioner of Health to develop and administer training programs, minimum qualifications, and procedures and standards for coroners and medical examiners.  These do not exist now.  (A2692, Gottfried)

Pesticide Prevention at Children’s Camps – Limits the use of pesticides at children’s overnight or summer day camps to designated safe categories, modeled on the standards for schools.  (A4841A, Paulin)

Urgent Care Clinic Study – Requires the Department of Health to undertake a one-year study of the distribution and quality of urgent care clinics.  (A6838, Gottfried)

Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) Reform – Enhances patient safety by making several updates to professional misconduct procedures and requirements, including participation in remediation, license reinstatement, and the use of testimonials in advertising under certain conditions.  (A7102, Gottfried, Department of Health departmental bill)

Electronic Death Registry – Establishes a statewide electronic system for collecting, recording, and authenticating death records.  (A7500, Steck)

Foster Home Care Demonstration Program Extender – Extends for another 4 years the program in which foster family care providers serve individuals eligible for home health care services but who lack a home or adequate family support to live in the community, including 2 demonstration programs. (A7504, Millman)

Palliative Care Definition – Adds a definition of “palliative care” to the section of Public Health Law governing hospice care, to conform to other statutory definitions of palliative care.  (A7505, Gottfried)