Legislature Concludes Challenging Session

June 21, 2021

The State Legislature gaveled out for the last time on June 11 after approving scores of bills, which now head to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk.

The historic session, which marked the first time Democrats held veto-proof supermajorities in the Assembly and Senate, began with tremendous uncertainty. In January, Governor Cuomo proposed massive budget cuts to hospitals. GNYHA helped secure significant Federal funding that allowed Albany to reverse nearly every provider cut.

Many bills that failed to pass this year will likely return to the agenda during the 2022 session, which begins next January—although legislative leaders have left the door open to returning sooner to act on unresolved non-health care issues. They could also consider the political future of Governor Cuomo, who is currently under investigation on multiple fronts.

In a sign that Albany is returning to normalcy, the Capitol reopened to the public last week for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, during which the Legislature held hybrid remote/in-person sessions.

Here are some highlights from the 2021 legislative session:

  • The Legislature passed two bills on staffing. The first requires hospitals to create clinical staffing committees and was the product of negotiations between hospital associations and health care unions. The second requires nursing homes to provide 3.5 hours of nursing care per resident per day or face penalties.
  • The trial bar’s push for a bill to expand wrongful death claims, which would have amounted to one of the costliest medical malpractice amendments in years, failed. However, both houses did pass legislation requiring defendants to provide plaintiffs with information on their insurance policies—relaxing New York’s exclusion of hearsay statements—and on interest on judgments.
  • Neither the Assembly nor the Senate passed the New York Health Act, which would create a single payer State health insurance program. GNYHA believes insurmountable obstacles would prevent this bill’s success.
  • For the fourth consecutive year, the Legislature approved a resolution distributing $3.8 million in funding for school-based health centers

For more information, please see ML-58 or our comprehensive summary table of bills.