Clock Ticking on Legislative Session

May 25, 2021

With 10 scheduled session days remaining, members of the Assembly and Senate, interest groups, unions, and advocates are seeking to boost their priorities in Albany. GNYHA is focused on protecting New York State hospitals from unfunded mandates that would compromise their ability to deliver care as they continue to recover from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of the top issues we’re following:

Medical Malpractice As in past years, the trial bar is advancing a series of deeply misguided bills that would further increase New York hospitals’ already sky-high medical malpractice costs. Particularly concerning is a bill that would vastly expand damages recoverable in wrongful death actions (A.6770/S.74-A, Weinstein/Hoylman). Please urge your legislators to protect hospitals by rejecting these harmful bills. Feel free to use our talking points in your advocacy.

Single Payer The New York Health Act (A.6058/S.5474, Gottfried/Rivera) would create a single payer health system in New York State. While GNYHA supports many of the bill’s goals, insurmountable obstacles—including inadequate payment rates from public payers and the massive increase in revenue required to pay for the program—would block its success.

Insurance GNYHA is calling on Albany to rein in the bad behavior of massive, for-profit insurers. The latest examples include an Anthem policy that effectively denies coverage for outpatient surgery in hospital clinics and proliferating requirements that hospitals purchase drugs from specialty pharmacies owned by insurance companies. GNYHA has called on the Department of Financial Services to examine these troubling practices. We also support increased enforcement of the insurance industry and a “timely payment for emergency care” law.

Telehealth GNYHA strongly supports A.4839/S.2990-A (Gunther/Harckham) and A.6256/S.5505 (Woerner/Rivera), which mandate reimbursement parity for telehealth services with in-office rates. Telehealth’s proliferation during the COVID-19 pandemic has made requiring adequate payment critically important for providers and their patients.

Medical Debt A.3470-A/S.2521-A (Gottfried/Rivera) includes multiple provisions for billing and collection. Three stand out: a requirement that hospitals provide consolidated bills to patients within seven days, a mandatory one-size-fits-all financial assistance program, and a prohibition on facility fees. Hospitals are committed to helping low-income and uninsured New Yorkers receive the care they need at a price they can afford, but many aspects of this bill are unworkable and would greatly confuse consumers. GNYHA is working with the Legislature to improve the bill.