Governor Cuomo announced on December 1st a series of new initiatives in the fight against AIDS – building on the state’s blueprint to end the epidemic by 2020. Earlier in the week, the Governor signed comprehensive legislation to eliminate barriers to HIV testing and other sexually transmitted infections, increase access to prevention and treatment, and expand research capabilities. Governor Cuomo also called on the federal government to authorize $45 million in Medicaid matching funds for critical programs supporting the battle against AIDS.
11.9.18: 2018 New York State Elections: How the Results May Impact Your Practice
For the first time in a decade and just the second time in more than 50 years, Democrats will control the New York State Senate as of January 1 with 40 of the 63 seats and a clear majority. While the Republicans have led the New York State Senate for decades, with a brief two year stint by Democrats in 2009-10, the balance of power will now shift to interesting and challenging times as the Governor, the Senate and the Assembly each offer their plans, priorities, and issues.
Important issues for physicians likely to be discussed during the upcoming legislative session include a single payer system, recreational use of marijuana, medical liability, physician assisted suicide, healthcare workforce and scope of practice issues, among many other public health related subjects. We will see a brand new, first-time Chair in the Senate Health Committee, Gustavo Rivera from the Bronx, and Assemblyman Gottfried of Manhattan will return as the Assembly Health Committee Chair.
Your Chapter, as always, will remain diligently involved in monitoring all of these proposals, and we ask you to continue to read our enews as it comes out bi-weekly in YCIA (Your Chapter in Action).
7.19.18: New York State Workers' Compensation Board to Reduce Paperwork and Lower Administrative Burdens for Physicians
The New York Chapter has been diligently advocating to reduce worker's compensation board administrative burdens for over a decade, and as announced on April 17, 2018, the New York State Workers' Compensation Board (Board) will replace the current Board treatment forms: Doctor's Initial Report (Form C-4), Doctor's Progress Report (Form C-4.2), Occupational/Physical Therapist's Report (Form OT/PT-4), Psychologist's Report (Form PS-4), and Ancillary Medical Report (Form C-AMR) with a singular form, the CMS-1500. This initiative will help reduce paperwork, lower provider administrative burdens, and will leverage physicians' current medical billing software and medical records while promoting a more efficient workers' compensation system.
It is expected that the initiative will roll out in three phases, see details here.
6.29.17: End of Session Update
The 2017 State Legislative session ended with some wins and a loss. Final actions included expanding medical marijuana use for PTSD, curbing electronic cigarettes, and extending time limits for filing medical malpractice lawsuits.
There were also several noteworthy “victories”—bills that we opposed and were not passed. Our credible relationships with legislators and our office’s close proximity to the Capitol, as well as our strong coalition with other medical specialty societies and patient groups helped to stop these bills. We blocked several medical liability bills simultaneously introduced at the very end of the session, all of which threatened to increase attorney contingency fees beyond their current limit. Any increase in contingency fees would of course further increase premiums, which is why opposing such changes remains a top legislative priority for us. Other bills that we opposed and that were not passed related to opioids, including mandated provider counseling prior to prescription of a schedule II opioid and limitation of an initial opioid prescription to 3 days (reduced from the current 7-day limitation).
We also had some victories regarding bills that we supported. E-cigarettes are now regulated under the Clean Indoor Air Act, possession of e-cigarettes is now prohibited on school grounds, and e-cigarette retailers are now required to register with the department of taxation and finance.
Of most significance to our members was the change to medical malpractice cases that expands the statute of limitations for plaintiffs (injured patients) to bring lawsuits against a physician. Whereas previously patients had 2.5 years from the date of the alleged malpractice to file a lawsuit, now patients have 2.5 years from the date of discovery with a maximum time limit of 7 years from the date of the alleged malpractice for failure to diagnose cancer or malignant tumor. Since this bill’s passing, malpractice insurance premiums are expected to increase by a minimum of 15%.
Overall, this was a very busy legislative year and a particularly eventful end of session. We thank all of our members who responded to our calls for legislative action—your state representatives heard your voices, loud and clear! As always, we take our duty to advocate for our members’ interests very seriously, so we are already reflecting on this year’s outcomes to begin preparing for the legislative session in 2018!
11.17.16 : Govenor Cuomo Signs Prior Authorization Bill
This was a legislative priority for NYACP. The Chapter, working with the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY), drafted this legislation with the Senate and Assembly Legislative sponsors, and continued advocacy until it was signed into law.
On Friday, September 30, Governor Cuomo signed as Chapter 350 of the Laws of 2016 legislation (A.9335/S.6778) changing e-prescribing exception regulations. Instead of sending an e-mail to the Department of Health containing an onerous amount of information about the issuance of the paper prescription every time an exception is invoked, as the regulations originally required, a prescriber can now make a notation in the patient's medical record indicating that they have issued a paper prescription and noting one of the three statutory exceptions as the reason why an e-prescription was not possible. This bill reduces an unnecessary administrative burden that was placed on physicians while preserving those measures within I-STOP that have been successful in reducing diversion and misuse of controlled substances.
Following a significant amount of effort by leaders and staff on this legislative priority, the bill was signed in part because of the large number of Chapter members that sent letters to Governor Cuomo through NYACP's Legislative Action Center, urging him to sign the bill.