Health care reform in New York to be addressed by Gov. Hochul on Jan. 10

On January 10, New York Governor Cathy Hochul gave her 2023 “State of the Union” speech. The address featured several health care reform initiatives — a strong indication that New York will prioritize health care issues and spending in the coming year. Below is a summary of Governor Hochul’s big-ticket health care agenda items.

First, Governor Hochul outlined how New York plans to use its historic $20 billion, multi-year health care spending bill to build out New York’s health care system in the following ways:

  • Help guide New York’s strategic response to ongoing innovations in how New Yorkers pay for and deliver medical care as digital, outpatient and in-the-home services evolve and become adopted to establish a “Commission on the Future of Health Care”;

  • setting up a new capital grant fund for health care technology;

  • reforming traveling nurse agency staffing practices to reduce health care spending and requiring staffing agencies to register and report operational data;

  • expanding the “scope of practice” of health care providers by joining the Interstate Licensure Compact and the Nurses Licensure Compact; And

  • Streamlining approval processes for health care projects in New York, including a certificate of need process and steps to ensure that private sector health care transactions are financially sustainable and support quality and access to care objectives We do.

Second, Governor Hochul is committed to improving access to and quality of mental and behavioral health care. To achieve these goals, Governor Hochul proposed:

  • Expanding insurance coverage for mental health services Prohibiting insurance companies from denying access to medically necessary, high-need, acute, and crisis mental health services and adopting appointment availability and geographic access standards for behavioral health services ;

  • expanding mental health services for school-aged children, whose need for and access to mental health services was particularly affected by pandemic-related school closures;

  • increasing operational capacity for inpatient psychiatric treatment by 1,000 beds, including supporting Section 28 community hospitals to use all of their existing beds and investing $27.5 million to increase inpatient psychiatric rates;

  • Improving mental health care coordination and planning by creating a system of accountability – from admission through discharge and post-acute care, including Critical Time Intervention Care Coordination Teams;

  • Dramatically expanding outpatient services with 12 new psychiatric emergency care sites and 40 new treatment teams, mobilizing to reach the most at-risk New Yorkers and certified community behavioral health to provide walk-in integrated behavioral health care expanding clinics; And

  • Ensuring payment equity for behavioral health services provided in person or via telehealth.

Third, Governor Hochul’s administration plans to “strengthen the foundation” of New York’s health care system by:

  • expanding Medicaid coverage for preventive health services and Medicaid’s buy-in program for New Yorkers with disabilities;

  • protecting New Yorkers from enormous medical debt and costs by preventing the attachment of creditors’ homes and wages to secure medical debt, amending the Consumer Credit Fairness Act to cover medical debt, investing in medical debt literacy, and requiring hospitals to use a standard financial assistance application form;

  • improving primary care by expanding access and increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates;

  • ensuring access to high-quality long-term care, including investing in care teams to provide low-income adults with care in their home;

  • revitalizing emergency medical services and medical transport, including allowing EMTs to treat people in the community; And

  • Supporting the ongoing collaboration between the Office of Addiction Services and Support and the Department of Health in addressing the state’s substance abuse epidemic.

Finally, Governor Hochul stressed the need for emergency preparedness. In his address, he explained how New York would prepare for future emergencies:

  • modernizing New York’s health reporting system so that it is more secure in the way it stores and transmits health data, and more efficient and effective in using it;

  • rebuilding Wadsworth Laboratories to advance cutting-edge research on biomedical and environmental issues critical to protecting the health of New Yorkers; And

  • Strengthening New York’s public health emergency preparedness capacity in light of lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The full book of State of the Union can be found here. Many of these proposals will be included in the governor’s proposed budget, which is expected to be released around February 1, with the final budget being passed following legislative review and negotiations.

Understanding state health care policy and investment objectives is important for health care businesses and stakeholders as they plan and develop business goals for the year. The firm’s health care team can assist in evaluating and implementing strategies keeping in mind the upcoming changes.

Jacqueline R. Proscouer Rose LLP Daniel wrote this article.

© 2023 Proscour Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume XIII, No. 21

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