Assembly Health Committee Update: January - March

The Assembly Committee on Health favorably reported 42 bills at its meetings on January 26, February 2, February 25, and March 1. The Committee reported bills to protect service access for traumatic brain injury patients; prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco; appropriately identify and treat human trafficking victims; and allow people between 16 and 18 years old to register as organ donors.

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:

January 26

Flavored Tobacco Product Restrictions - Helps to decrease the use of tobacco products among children by prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products, with limited exceptions. (A128, Paulin)

Review of Health Plan Coverage Denials - Provides that a health plan’s internal review of a denial of coverage for a service must be done by a physician in the specialty involved; this is currently the rule for external appeals. (A445A, Gottfried)

Effects of Artificial Night Light - Requires the Department of Health to study the health effects of night-time artificial lighting. (A572, Rosenthal)

Integrated Pesticide Management in Hospitals - Establishes requirements for integrated pest management plans for hospitals and requirements for notification of hospital occupants about pesticide applications. (A700, Englebright)

Protecting Day Care Air Quality - Bars day care centers from being built near environmentally hazardous sites. Requires air quality and ventilation standards for day care centers. (A947, Englebright)

Autism Assessment Centers – Authorizes licensing of Comprehensive Autism Assessment Centers designed to ensure that children with autism spectrum disorders receive a comprehensive assessment. (A1056, Gunther)

Proper Handling of Drug Samples - Establishes recordkeeping and safety standards for the handling of drug samples in health care practitioner offices, to reduce the risk of dispensing outdated, expired, improperly stored, or adulterated drugs that can cause adverse reactions. (A1615, Gottfried)

State Building Smoking Prohibitions - Prohibits smoking within 50 feet of an entrance to a state office or agency building. (A1732A, Cahill)

Preventing Underage Internet Purchase of Cigarettes - Requires companies that sell tobacco products over the internet to acquire a signed authorization stating the recipient is 18 years of age or older. (A1743, Pretlow)

Automated External Defibrillators on Golf Courses - Requires all golf courses to have at least one automated external defibrillator and a trained operator present during hours of operation. (A1941, Markey)

Determining Patient Incapacity – This bill amends Public Health Law and the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act to improve the process of determining patient incapacity to make health care decisions. (A2036, Pretlow)

Adult Home Legal Representation – Authorizes adult home residents to designate a resident representative and a legal representative and codifies that such representatives may not waive certain rights of the resident. (A2283, Gottfried)

Trichloroethylene (TCE) Contamination Remediation - Requires the Department of Health to set indoor air contaminant standards for Trichloroethylene. These standards would be used to guide Department of Environmental Conservation remediation programs. (A3236, Lupardo)

Postnatal Tissue and Fluid Education and Outreach - Requires pregnant patients to be informed about donation of postnatal tissue and fluid. (A3392A, Titone)

Adult Home Death Reporting – Adds enriched housing programs to the list of adult care facilities required to report deaths and attempted suicides of patients. (A3829, Gottfried)

Preventing Lead Exposure – Increases the penalties against landlords and others for lead abatement violations. (A4466, Clark)

Fair Prescribing – Prohibits pharmacy benefit managers and health plans from giving financial incentives to health care providers for switching from one prescription drug to another. (A4871, Perry)

Organ and Tissue Donor Age Expansion - Allows people age 16 and over, but under 18, to register as organ and tissue donors, with parental consent required before an actual donation. (A4990B, Ortiz)

Medicaid Eligibility for Youth in Court-Ordered Placement – Releasing youth from juvenile justice facilities without access to health care puts them at risk as they try to transition back into the community. This bill provides presumptive Medicaid eligibility for them while their eligibility applications are processed. (A5923, Barron)

Standardized Prior Authorization Forms – Reduces the administrative burden on health care providers by requiring insurance companies to utilize standardized prior authorization forms. (A6983A, McDonald)

E-Cigarettes on School Grounds – Prohibits the use of e-cigarettes on school grounds. (A7154B, Rosenthal)

Medicaid Capital Cost Exception – Makes a very limited exception to the general rule prohibiting capital cost reimbursement of the purchase price after the sale of a nursing facility. (A7993A, Dinowitz)

February 2

Children's Camp Oversight - Requires single-purpose children's day camps to obtain permits and liability insurance and comply with regulations. Under existing law, only camps that have two or more activities are subject to Department of Health regulation. (A37, Paulin)

Generic Drug Information Access - Requires the Commissioner of Health to collect and publish data on therapeutic effectiveness of generic drug products. (A145A, Paulin)

Crib Safety Information – Requires hospitals and birth centers to distribute information on crib safety including sleeping procedures for babies and crib product recall information. (A356, Rosenthal)

Managed Long Term Care Plan Ownership - Prohibits for-profit health maintenance organizations from owning managed long term care plans. (A414B, Gottfried)

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 (A501B, Cusick)

Pain Management Protection - Protects health care professionals from criminal liability and professional discipline for prescribing and administering pain medication when they act within accepted professional standards. Physicians and others are sometimes reluctant to prescribe appropriate pain management out of fear of wrongful prosecution. (A2230, Gottfried)

Provider Participation in Child Health Plus Plans - Prohibits insurance companies that offer Child Health Plus from requiring a participating health care provider in its Child Health Plus plan to also sign up for the insurance company's other health plans. (A2918, Pretlow)

Medicaid Orthopedic Footwear Coverage - Authorizes Medicaid coverage of orthopedic footwear to address consequences of illness, injury, or disease. (A4602A, Colton)

Patient Privacy – Prohibits the making or broadcasting of visual images of individuals undergoing medical treatment without prior written consent. (A5161C, Braunstein)

Food Allergy Awareness - Requires the Department of Health to establish educational materials and programs about food allergens for public eating establishments, with authority for regulations on disclosure and posting. (A5944, Ortiz)

Encouraging Organ Donation – “Lauren’s Law” requires an applicant to fill out the organ donation section on a driver’s license or non-driver identification card application. The law is scheduled to expire in 2016. This bill makes it permanent. (Ortiz, 8661)

Tattoo & Body Piercing Safety – Makes technical corrections to a 2015 law requiring single use needles and inks to be used by tattoo and body piercing establishments. (A8671, Zebrowski)

February 25

Aiding Human Trafficking Victims – Requires hospitals and other health care facilities to implement written policies for identifying, assessing, treating, or referring persons suspected to be victims of human trafficking; and requires specified personnel in these facilities to be trained in working with trafficking victims. (A8650, Paulin)

Streamlining Assisted Living Facility Applications – A 2015 law authorizes “affiliates” of adult care and assisted living operators in good standing to use streamlined application processes. This bill conforms the definition of “affiliate” with the definition in corporation law. (A9164, Gottfried)

Child Health Plus eligibility – Makes a technical amendment to a 2015 law allowing families approved for Child Health Plus within 60 days of their child’s birth to have coverage take effect retroactive to the day of birth. (A9165, Gottfried)

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Service Protections – Medicaid currently provides services to many TBI patients through the TBI and Nursing Home Transition and Diversion (NHTD) Waivers. The Waivers are scheduled for transition into Medicaid Managed Care (MMC) in 2017. Patients, providers, and advocates have raised serious concerns about the quality of care under MMC. This bill requires that services under MMC be at least "substantially comparable" to those spelled out in the current TBI and NHTD Waiver manuals; creates a high-needs rate cell under MMC; and requires the Department to study and report on the need for and feasibility of repatriation of complex-needs patients treated out-of-state. Note: This bill, with some revisions, was enacted as part of the 2016-17 budget. (A9288, Gottfried)

Electronic Prescribing – Nursing Home Exemption – The law requiring electronic prescribing took effect March 27, 2016. For decades, nurses have been authorized to take oral orders from physicians for non-controlled substance medications through the nursing home medication administration system. The physician typically signs a confirming order within 48 hours. Since physicians are not always physically present in nursing homes, this bill allows for continued use of non-electronic prescriptions in nursing homes. (A9334, Gottfried)

Electronic Prescribing – Low-Volume Exemption – The law requiring electronic prescribing took effect March 27, 2016. This bill allows providers who prescribe fewer than 25 prescriptions a year to register with the Department to be exemption from electronic prescribing requirements. Note: This bill, with some revisions, was enacted as part of the 2016-17 budget. (A9335, Gottfried)

March 1

Preferred Drug Program Expansion - Under the Medicaid preferred drug program (PDP), the drug utilization review board evaluates drug safety and effectiveness and places drugs on a “preferred” list or require prior authorization, which may be overcome using “prescriber prevails” rules. Drug companies can also pay supplemental rebates to get their drugs on the preferred drug list. The PDP used to administer the drug benefit for the whole Medicaid program. In 2011, control of the drug benefit for Medicaid Managed Care patients was shifted to each of the Medicaid Managed Care plans, leaving only a small number of Medicaid fee-for-service patients under the PDP. This bill restores to the PDP the power to negotiate drug prices for the entire Medicaid population. By bargaining with drug companies on behalf of over six million Medicaid patients, the PDP will be able to negotiate lower drug prices than any individual managed care plan. The bill would also allow commercial health plans to use the PDP, which would benefit those plans and also increase the bargaining power of the PDP. (A9272, Gottfried)

Correctional Medicaid Access Waiver - Individuals who would otherwise be Medicaid eligible cannot receive Medicaid-covered services (except hospital inpatient care) during incarceration in prisons or jails. As a result, individuals are unable to access medications and services pre-release that could help them transition back into the community and avoid mental or behavioral health relapses and recidivism. This bill requires the Department to apply to the Federal government for a waiver to allow Medicaid coverage of certain services and medication for inmates in the thirty days immediately prior to their release. Note: This bill, with some revisions, was enacted as part of the 2016-17 budget. (A9320, O’Donnell)