Healthcare

New head of N.Y. Association for Rural Health will push for funding increase next session

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Liz Urbanski-Farrell has spent a career in the U.S. and elsewhere trying to change the health outcomes of people who live in rural areas.

As the new executive director of the New York state Association for Rural Health, she told Capital Tonight that 44 of New York state’s 63 counties are either partly or fully rural, a number that comprises 85% of the state, including enormous swaths of upstate.

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Former OASAS federal counsel discusses SCOTUS decision that blows up opioid settlement

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday threw a wrench into the complicated negotiated settlements between Purdue Pharma, the Sackler family and the many interested parties – including New York state – that have claims against Purdue for contributing to the opioid crisis.

The settlements that Purdue and the Sackler family had reached promised $6 billion to claimants in exchange for personal immunity from liability for the Sackler family.

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Advocates pushing to New York to look beyond Narcan for drug overdoses

BY Ryan Whalen Binghamton

ALBANY, N.Y. -- At this time, New York is essentially a Narcan-only state when it comes to drugs that first responders can use to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

The state, through a non-competitive bid process, contracted pharmaceutical company Emergent Devices to supply the name brand naloxone through the end of July.

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Rep. Molinaro becomes first House Republican to back federal contraception bill

BY Tim Williams New York State

The federal Right to Contraception Act, which would codify a person’s right to access and a health care provider's right to provide contraception and information into federal law, has its first Republican cosponsor in upstate New York U.S. Rep. Marc Molinaro.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the Republican who represents the 19th Congressional District, which voted for President Joe Biden in 2020, said “we need to do more to support women and the choices they make” and adds that the bill “is commonsense and a good place to start.”

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Millions of Medicaid payments went to providers not enrolled, N.Y. comptroller audit finds

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

Medicaid-managed care organizations (MCOs) made millions of dollars in improper and questionable payments to providers who did not appear to be enrolled in Medicaid, according to an audit released Tuesday by New York state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

Providers are supposed to be enrolled generally under federal and state law. The state Department of Health pays for Medicaid in two ways — fee-for-service and managed care. Under fee-for-service, DOH pays Medicaid enrolled providers directly for health care services. Under managed care, DOH pays monthly premiums to MCOs for each enrolled Medicaid recipient and in exchange MCOs arrange for services with providers.

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Experts urge Legislature to pass bill preventing for-profit and private equity hospice in New York

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The FBI has issued public warnings about hospice fraud in four states — Texas, Arizona, Nevada and California. The bureau is alerting consumers to a wide-spread scam in which patients are enrolled in hospice without their knowledge by recruiters who “sell” hospice care to people who aren’t actually eligible.

The alarm was sounded about this kind of fraud two years ago by the New Yorker and Pro Publica.

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New York child poverty rate one of the highest in U.S., state comptroller report says

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

The child poverty rate in New York remains one of the highest in the country and is “alarmingly” high in some cities, according to a report released Thursday by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

The report found New York’s child poverty rate ranked 41st in the nation in 2022, which was at least six percentage points higher than states that border New York. More than 2.7 million New York residents were living in poverty in 2022 and more than a quarter of them were children, the report said. Almost half of all children living in poverty are in “deep poverty,” meaning they are in a household with income that is 50% below the federal poverty line.

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New York Medical Aid in Dying Act advocates hopeful for passage this session

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Could this be the year that Albany passes the Medical Aid in Dying Act?

Advocates have been pushing the bill for almost 10 years, but they say there are several reasons to be especially hopeful this session: According to a variety of polls, about two-thirds of Americans support the issue. Also, the sponsors of the bill are two powerful lawmakers, the chair of the Assembly Health Committee Amy Paulin and the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee Brad Hoylman-Sigal.

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AARP: New York state budget leaves out 18,000 people who are languishing on wait lists

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

People aged 65 and over are the fastest-growing segment of New York state’s population, but according to AARP, the nation's largest organization dedicated to empowering older Americans, you wouldn’t know it from this year’s enacted New York state budget.

“Older adults were, for the most part, left out of the budget,” Beth Finkel, AARP’s New York state director, told Capital Tonight.

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New York child care task force report touts investments in the sector

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

The New York state Child Care Availability Task Force released its latest report Friday highlighting progress and initiatives that it says has enhanced child care services in the state.

The report comes after the state budget recently passed by the New York Legislature that continues the ongoing four-year $7 billion investment to expand access to affordable child care and invest the child care workforce.

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New York's high court to hear case on abortion insurance coverage

BY Associated Press New York State

New York’s highest court will hear arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit that seeks to throw out a regulation requiring health insurance policies to cover medically necessary abortions — a case that could jeopardize a similar state law.

The lawsuit was filed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and other church groups that argue that the rule violates their religious beliefs.

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Medical Society of the State of New York supports Medical Aid in Dying Act

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York’s proposed Medical Aid in Dying Act got the endorsement from the Medical Society of the State of New York, state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal, who sponsors the legislation in that chamber, announced Monday.

The act would allow terminally ill, mentally capable adults who have been given six months or less to live to take their own lives with a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs.

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Opposition to a single fiscal intermediary grows among disability rights community

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Advocates for people living with disabilities are continuing their effort to shut down a proposal that that would reform the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program, or CDPAP.

While the program has had some challenges, including unethical providers using it for their own gain, advocates argue a late-breaking proposal to eliminate all providers, including the disability-led and disability-staffed Independent Living Centers, and turn over operations to a single Fiscal Intermediary (FI) would mean an upheaval of a program that helps hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers with disabilities maintain independence in the community.

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New safeguards added to New York's proposed Medical Aid in Dying Act

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

The two architects behind New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act have amended added additional safeguards to the legislation in the hope it can soon become law.

The act would allow terminally ill, mentally capable adults who have been given six months or less to live to take their own lives with a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs.

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New York lawmaker pushes for organ donation, shares personal connection

BY Susan Arbetter and Tim Williams New York State

Monday kicks off National Donate Life Month, where people are encouraged to check their organ donation status to make an impact on someone’s life while they are here or after they pass away.

New York state Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, an organ donor himself, told Capital Tonight "this isn’t a Democrat or a Republican issue," and adds more needs to be done to get New York higher up on the donor ranking lists.

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New York advocates for people living with cancer outline priorities

BY Tim Williams New York State

Earlier this week, New York lawmakers, advocates and people living with cancer came to Albany to outline their budget and legislative priorities as lawmakers continue to hammer out a final budget deal. The advocates are looking for more funding for the Cancer Services Program, expanding access to paid family medical leave and diminishing the impact of medical debt, among other things.

Advocates are calling for more funding for two programs in the state, the cancer services program and the tobacco control program. The Cancer Services Program provides breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screenings to New Yorkers without or with inadequate health insurance while meeting certain age and income requirements.

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New York advocates push for emergency declaration, more funding to address substance use disorder

BY Jack Arpey New York State

Some New York lawmakers and advocates are pushing the state to invest more in prevention, treatment and recovery when it comes to substance use disorders. Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state Senate and Assembly all made slightly different budget proposals for fighting the crisis.

Advocates like Addiction Recovery coach Judy Moffitt are asking for addiction in New York state to be declared a state of emergency, and what is behind that effort is a series of items being pushed to address the crisis, some that are included in those budgets and some that aren’t.

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Millions coming to Finger Lakes region to improve health care access

BY Brian Campbell Finger Lakes

More than $3 million in federal funding is on its way to the Finger Lakes region to improve health care access and shore up emergency operations, U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced Monday.

The funding, $3,173,000, will help provide health care and supportive services to underserved communities and improve health care infrastructure. It will also make emergency operations more resilient to energy disruptions, ensuring that first responders maintain their ability to respond quickly.

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Sen. Liz Krueger discusses her bill protecting tropical forests

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

In January, Gov. Kathy Hochul vetoed a bill that proponents said would protect tropical rainforests against deforestation and degradation.

Along with Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, Sen. Liz Krueger sponsored the "New York’s Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act,” which would have closed loopholes in an existing ban on the use of tropical hardwoods by New York state’s agencies and authorities.

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Hospice advocacy group pushes bill to protect end-of-life care, New York Health Department clarifies position

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Back in 2019, several upstate New York hospice providers serving rural counties, including Chenango, Montgomery, Oneida and Onondaga, successfully fended off an incursion into their jurisdiction by a new kind of health care collaboration. The New York state Department of Health (DOH) had approved a request by the Bassett Healthcare Network and Helios Care for a regulatory waiver under the Hospital-Home Care-Physician Collaboration Program under Public Health Law 2805-x.

The law was intended to promote innovative collaborations in health care.

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Hospice group pushes for clarity in N.Y. state budget as some warm to for-profit care

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

New York state has the lowest utilization of hospice in the country, which can be attributed to several factors, including low health literacy rates. But the state’s recent progress in support of end-of-life care may be threatened by something even more insidious: corporate greed.

To investigate that issue nationally, a joint request for information was issued by the federal Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Trade Commission into private equity-backed health care and its impact on quality.

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DOH order makes contraception available to walk-in patients in New York

BY Spectrum News Staff New York State

Contraception will be made available to walk-in patients at New York pharmacies, following an order signed Tuesday morning by state Department of Health Commissioner James McDonald.

McDonald and Gov. Kathy Hochul appeared at Albany College of Pharmacy's College Parkside Pharmacy on Tuesday for the signing.

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New York U.S. Reps. Morelle and Molinaro support IVF protections through Access to Family Building Act

BY Jack Arpey New York State

Lawmakers at the federal level are taking steps to protect in vitro fertilization, or IVF.

Alabama's Supreme Court ruled last month those embryos are children with rights, leading many providers to stop services over liability concerns. The state's lawmakers quickly passed a law to try and restore protections and allow some clinics to reopen.

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New York Opioid Settlement Board chair discusses challenges

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Forty-six states are in the process of disbursing $26 billion in opioid settlement money – that money may balloon to about $50 billion.

In New York, there are two bodies that direct the flow of settlement funds to the people who need help: the New York State Office of Addiction Services & Supports (OASAS), and the Opioid Settlement Fund Advisory Board, which was established in 2022 to provide OASAS with recommendations regarding how that funding should be allocated.

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Physician assistants want state to loosen restrictions

BY Aditi Lamba New York State

Physician assistant Luis Garcia wants to openly share his thoughts on a proposed piece of legislation that he says will transform healthcare access for many.

“Unfortunately, due to the shortage of providers, there are people who are not getting the right care and they're waiting too long to get basic care,” Garcia said.

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Advocates push for cost-of-living adjustment increase for N.Y. human services workers, including some nonprofit employees

BY Jack Arpey New York State

Pushing for a cost-of-living adjustment for human services workers was the subject of a rally at the New York state Capitol on Monday.

Not only that, but also at hand was the urge to form a panel that would ensure wages not be allowed to slump to levels that have brought groups out multiple times already this session.

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Former N.Y. budget director analysis: Eliminating managed long-term care plans would save state money

BY Tim Williams New York State

An analysis of managed long term care plans, or MTLC plans, by former New York state Budget Director Paul Francis, who is currently with Step Two Policy Project, found that the state could save money if it eliminated the MTLC plans and returned to a fee-for-service model.

The analysis found that the total annual gross savings from eliminating MTLC plans in 2025 would save over $900 million and that the state share gross savings reaches over $400 million.

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New York state senator seeks ban on hospital lawsuits against patients

BY Justin Velazquez Central NY

Seventeen New York hospitals and health systems sued 1,600 patients, collecting $9 million in medical debts since 2022, according to a USA Today report released last July. One woman's husband was sued for more than $10,000 by SUNY Upstate Medical University before he passed away from pancreatic cancer.

“I couldn’t understand why they would sue a terminally ill man – and neither could he," said Linda Koberna.

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Drug policy expert on the importance of the recovery movement

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Even as the worst snowstorm in years hit New York City on Tuesday, hundreds of advocates and people in recovery rallied at the state Capitol Tuesday for Stand Up for Recovery Day. The day celebrates the promise of recovery from addiction and serves as a chance to educate elected officials on the recovery movement.

“Especially nowadays, with the drugs being so lethal, when folks make it to recovery, you’ve got to really support them staying there,” said attorney and drug policy expert Rob Kent, president of Kent Strategic Advisors.

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Managed Long Term Care plans fight New York bill to eliminate them

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

A broad group of stakeholders from across New York on Thursday sent a letter to the state Senate and Assembly Health Committee chairs, asking them to drop their support for a bill to replace the state’s managed long-term care programs with a fee-for-service system.

Capital Tonight discussed this issue last week with bill sponsor and Senate Health Committee Chairman Gustavo Rivera, who said the “Home Care Savings & Reinvestment Act” (S.7800/A.8470), which would stop the state from paying for Managed Long Term Care plans (MLTCs), could save between $1 billion and $2 billion annually.

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Audit: Issues with timely mental health treatment for New Yorkers in crisis

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

The New York state Office of Mental Health needs to do better at overseeing timely treatment for individuals under a state law that requires people in a mental health crisis receive treatment, according to an audit released Thursday by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office.

Known as Kendra's Law, the state allows court-ordered Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) for those with serious mental illness that pose risks to themselves or others and whose treatment history meets a set of criteria.

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New York lawmakers, health advocates pushing for more Medicaid funding

BY Keegan Trunick and Spectrum News Staff Rochester

Safety net hospitals can be an essential service for some of the most underserved communities across New York. Advocates say Medicaid is the largest source of funding for those hospitals.

Now, a group of Rochester-area lawmakers, health officials and health care advocates are asking for more state funding for Medicaid as many of those safety net hospitals have been closing recently due to a lack of money. The group came together at Strong Memorial Hospital on Monday to call on Gov. Hochul to fully fund the Medicaid Health Insurance Program.

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Advocates push bills to help New York's EMS crisis

BY Jack Arpey New York State

Advocates came to Albany this week rallying to enhance emergency medical services (EMS) across the state. It comes as those in the field say wait times are getting longer, due in part to a lack of volunteers and funding.

The goal is to figure out ways to ensure coverage for all New Yorkers without taking away from the work being done by people who are devoting their lives to these services each and every day.

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Caring for New York’s children through tax credits and budget funding

BY Tim Williams and Marisa Jacques New York State

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, child poverty more than doubled nationwide since the expiration of the federal child tax credit.

Additionally, child poverty rates in New York are on the rise. State Assembly Children and Families Committee Chairman Andrew Hevesi has proposed legislation to rectify that.

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New York AG: OxyContin marketer agrees to pay $350M rather than face lawsuits

BY Associated Press New York State

An advertising agency that helped develop marketing campaigns for OxyContin and other prescription painkillers has agreed to pay U.S. states $350 million rather than face the possibility of trials over its role in the opioid crisis, attorneys general said Thursday.

Publicis Health, part of the Paris-based media conglomerate Publicis Groupe, agreed to pay the entire settlement in the next two months, with most of the money to be used to fight the overdose epidemic.

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New York lawmaker's personal experiences led to support for the Medical Aid in Dying Act

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

In this partisan political environment, it’s rare to hear an elected official admit he’s changed his mind, but New York state Assemblyman Al Taylor acknowledges he did.

“I didn’t want to have that conversation because I had an opinion. It was a strong opinion,” he told Capital Tonight of his opposition to the Medical Aid in Dying Act. “And life shifts.”

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Sponsors prioritizing New York 'Medical Aid in Dying' bill this session

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- For nearly a decade, New York state Assemblymember Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, has backed legislation to allow terminally ill patients to request pharmaceuticals for the purpose of speeding up their deaths and providing legal protections to the physicians who prescribe them.

Currently, 10 states and Washington, D.C. have passed something similar.

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Advocates push bill that would allow certified professional midwives in New York

BY Jack Arpey New York State

Families and stakeholders met Tuesday in Albany for a "day of action" to push for expanded access to maternal health care, specifically midwifery.

While New York state currently licenses two types of primarily hospital based midwives, certified professional midwives, who specialize in home care outside of a hospital setting, are not allowed to practice in New York state.

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N.Y. lawmakers, advocates encouraged by Hochul's mental health budget but concerned about workforce

BY Jack Arpey New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul has made fighting the state’s mental health crisis a priority in this year’s budget, calling it "the defining challenge of our time."

She is proposing $4.8 billion to address serious mental illness as well as mental health issues among younger people. Advocates and lawmakers say they are encouraged but concerned about filling the positions necessary to fight the crisis, while taking care of and retaining the existing workforce.

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Women almost twice as likely than men to be caregivers for loved one, AARP New York report finds

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York women are nearly twice as likely than men to be caregivers for a loved one, according to a new report from AARP New York released Wednesday.

The report, based on a fall 2023 survey commissioned by AARP New York, found 66% of women say they are caregivers versus 34% of men and help with a wide range of daily living assistance from shopping to nursing tasks.

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Hochul: $50M will expand inpatient mental health services at community-based hospitals

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

More than $50 million is available to help community-based hospitals expand access to mental health treatment for children and adults, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday.

The funding will allow those facilities to add new inpatient capacity. It will provide awards of up to $5 million to cover design, property acquisition, and construction costs associated with this expansion. Eligible facilities include Article 28 licensed general hospitals and freestanding Article 31 psychiatric hospitals, which operate programs licensed or certified by and in good standing with the state Office of Mental Health.

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Groups want New York opioid settlement funds to go to overdose prevention centers

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

More than 100 organizations are calling for opioid settlement dollars to fund and expand overdose prevention centers, according to a letter dated Monday sent to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Made up of criminal justice reform groups, AIDS service and harm reduction providers and health care organizations, the letter states the disapproval of the state’s rejection of recommendations from the state Opioid Settlement Advisory Board to fund harm reduction efforts including needle exchanges, fentanyl strips, in-patient treatment and safe injection sites.

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New York bill would expand coverage for breast cancer screenings

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

Two New York state lawmakers announced legislation Thursday that would expand coverage for breast cancer screenings and bolster early detection for women at higher risk.

A bill from Democratic state Sen. John Mannion and Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright would expand insurance coverage for women in New York to those with second-degree family members, like grandmothers, granddaughters, aunts or nieces, who have had breast cancer.

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Hochul announces $100 million investment in child care

BY Capital Tonight Staff New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday announced a $100 million investment in child care to address the shortage that faces families.

The investment includes a $50 million tax credit to incentivize businesses to provide child care services for employees.

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Policy disagreements continue over how to address New York’s opioid epidemic

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

A few weeks ago, Capital Tonight discussed why advocates are pushing Gov. Kathy Hochul to declare an addiction public health state of emergency. Since then, calls for her to do so have only grown louder as hundreds of providers, families and members of the Legislature from across the state rallied at the Empire State Plaza on Monday.

Capital Tonight asked the Hochul administration about her position on calling for such a state of emergency. While spokesman Avi Small didn’t directly answer the question, he did point out that the governor is personally familiar with the tragedies behind the epidemic.

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Hochul signs bills into law on medicine price gouging, medical debt

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed several pieces of legislation Wednesday aimed to protect New Yorkers from medicine price-gouging and financial consequences related to medical debt, the governor's office said.

One law prohibits the sale of medicine for an unconscionably excessive price throughout a drug shortage, which would be defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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New York advocates, lawmakers call for continuous health insurance coverage for kids under 6

BY Tim Williams and Marisa Jacques New York State

A coalition of child advocacy groups have sent a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul calling for the state to follow the lead of Washington and Oregon and keep continuous health insurance coverage for children under the age of 6.

The coalition said the continuation of coverage will “reap many benefits for our state.”

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Advocates call for housing access on World AIDS Day

BY Tim Williams and Casey Bortnick New York State

On this World AIDS Day, lawmakers and advocates joined together in Rochester to call for passage of legislation that would expand access to housing for people living with HIV/AIDS.

State Assembly Member Harry Bronson, a Rochester Democrat who sponsors the legislation, joined Capital Tonight to discuss the legislation and the need for affordable housing for this community.

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Hochul signs legislation aimed to protect LGBTQ seniors and those living with HIV

BY Jack Arpey New York State

A day ahead of World AIDS Day, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill into law that bars long-term care facilities and their staff from discriminating against any resident on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or HIV status.

“New York's seniors should be able to live their lives with the dignity and respect they deserve, free from discrimination of every kind,” said Hochul. “LGBTQIA + and HIV-positive seniors are among our most vulnerable populations, and today we are taking steps to ensure that all New Yorkers - regardless of who they are, who they love or their HIV status - find safety and support in places where they need it the most. Hate will never have a place in New York.”

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New York State Office of Mental Health reconvenes suicide prevention taskforce

BY Jack Arpey New York State

The New York state Office of Mental Health is taking steps to prevent suicide.

The office Thursday reconvened the suicide prevention task force to enhance statewide prevention efforts with a renewed focus on helping at-risk populations. That includes communities of color disproportionally impacted by suicide or suicidal ideation. Established in partnership with the Office of Mental Health's Suicide Prevention Center of New York, the task force will build on existing prevention efforts and explore the mental health challenges laid bare during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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New York DOH: Pharmacists can give RSV vaccine to vulnerable individuals

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

The New York state Department of Health issued a standing order Wednesday that would allow pharmacists to administer the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) vaccine to those 60 and older and pregnant people without a separate prescription from their physician, DOH Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said.

“This updated standing order expands access to the RSV vaccine, allowing pregnant people to protect their unborn child from RSV and also allows older adults to protect themselves, all with a simple trip to the pharmacy for the vaccine,” McDonald said in a statement Wednesday. “As RSV can cause serious illness in infants and older adults, I strongly encourage all who are eligible to get the shot now to protect their own health and their loved ones.”

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New York is developing education program on harms of medically unnecessary surgery on intersex children

BY Associated Press New York State

New York is requiring state health officials to develop an outreach program to educate parents and doctors about the harmful impacts of medically unnecessary treatments performed on young children born intersex.

The measure, which was signed into law on Tuesday by Gov. Kathy Hochul, aims to bring awareness to people born with genitalia, chromosomes or reproductive organs that don’t fit typical definitions of male or female. New York City Council implemented a similar measure in 2021.

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Hochul signs bill that establishes New York doula directory

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill into law Monday that creates a statewide doula directory aimed at helping new mothers and their newborn children.

The new law aims to reduce barriers in finding doulas, who provide physical, emotional and informational support before, during, and after childbirth.

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Audit: New York needs to help addiction support providers better prepare for emergencies

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

There are some New York addiction treatment programs that may not be properly prepared in an emergency to prevent gaps in care, according to an audit released Thursday by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

The audit, covering a period between 2019 and 2022, found that the state Office of Addiction Services and Supports must improve its guidance for emergency plans for residential or inpatient programs for substance use disorders.

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Planned Burdett Birth Center closure frustrates Capital Region lawmaker

BY Tim Williams and Casey Bortnick New York State

The proposed closure of the Burdett Birth Center, operated by St. Peter’s Health Partners, has left Capital Region Democratic state Assembly Member John McDonald “frustrated.”

In an interview with Capital Tonight, he argued there isn’t “just one solution” to help maternity services that are “under a lot of stress throughout the state,” and added he believes closure is not a good option in this case.

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Hochul signs bill aimed to help those overcoming pregnancy loss, infant loss

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed a bill into law aimed to help support those recovering from a miscarriage or stillbirth, her office announced Wednesday.

The legislation, known as Ava's Law, directs the state Department of Health to provide the public with information about resources available for individuals who have suffered a pregnancy loss or infant loss. The information will be made available statewide through the DOH’s maternal health website.

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New York comptroller: Medicaid paying bills that federal funds should cover

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

The New York state Department of Health could save hundreds of millions of dollars if it had better oversight of enrollment in Medicaid and other public health plans, according to two audits released Thursday by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

His office said audits found thousands of instances where state Medicaid paid costs that another federally funded health care plan like the Essential Plan, New York's basic health plan, or Medicare should have paid.

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Formerly addicted doctors, nurses cannot bill Medicare or Medicaid

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Doctors and nurses who have struggled with opioid addiction in the past may be allowed to keep their medical certifications, but they are not allowed to bill Medicare or Medicaid for five years.

That's a rule put into place in the 1980s by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General to deal with fraud, but its current iteration leaves medical professionals with very few places to practice medicine.

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One perspective: Nonprofit hospice fears influx of unregulated competitors

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Hospice nurses perform one of the most difficult jobs: Caring for people in their final months of life. But for-profit hospice and palliative care companies, many of them well-capitalized, are entering New York state and upending the marketplace.

“The issue is, we don’t want to reproduce the problem that most of the nation is experiencing, which is issues of quality, fraud, abuse, threats to workforce, etcetera,” said Dr. Christopher Kerr, CEO and chief medical officer at Hospice Buffalo, one of the oldest hospices in the nation.

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Rep. Mike Lawler proposes plan to retain more doctors

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

The number of foreign graduates of American medical schools allowed to remain in the U.S. would expand under a measure proposed this week by Republican Rep. Mike Lawler.

The proposal addresses the Conrad 30 program, which allows states to issue 30 waivers for foreign graduates of medical schools on J-1 visas. Lawler's proposal would expand those waivers to 100.

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N.Y. Assemblyman DiPietro opposes health care pilot program for sex workers

BY Ryan Whalen East Aurora

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The New York state Department of Health has awarded $1 million in public funds to two contractors as part of a two-year sex worker health care pilot program.

Republican state Assemblyman David DiPietro believes the program potentially encourages human trafficking and sets back the women's equality movement.

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Expanded biomarker testing access could improve cancer care plans

BY Nick Reisman and Tim Williams New York State

A coalition of public health groups have sent a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul urging her to sign legislation that would expand biomarker testing here in New York.

This biomarker testing could help target cancer treatments, clearer prognoses and lead to more positive outcomes.

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New York health officials launch overdose prevention campaign

BY Nick Reisman New York State

New York health officials on Tuesday launched a public service campaign highlighting the importance of naloxone, a medication that is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose when administered in a timely manner.

The campaign is set to run through Aug. 30 and is being funded in part by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It will appear on social media and digital platforms, including streaming spots to emphasize the signs and symptoms of an overdose and a reminder that naloxone is safe and legal to carry.

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New York provides $3.5M for behavioral health clinics

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Thirteen behavioral health clinics under development will receive $3.5 million in grant money with the goal of providing health support as well as social service programs, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday said.

The money will support the new 24-hour clinics, with six of them located in New York City and the other seven in regions across the state, Hochul's office said.

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Hochul: $5.5M sent to addiction treatment programs in New York

BY Nick Reisman New York State

New York is sending $5.5 million to more than a dozen organizations in order to combat addiction and provide services to people in underserved populations of the state, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office recently announced.

The money is coming from a larger $2 billion settlement New York received from major companies deemed responsible for the proliferation of opioids and rise in addiction over the last generation.

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New overtime law for nurses in New York takes effect

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Health care employers in New York are barred from requiring nurses to work beyond their regularly scheduled shift with some exceptions under a law taking effect on Thursday.

Exceptions include a health care disaster, an emergency declaration, or when required for safe patient care during an emergency or ongoing medical procedure.

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Hochul to review Mickie's Law, bills to make childbirth safer

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul will consider signing two pieces of legislation that would help improve New York's elevated maternal mortality rate and ensure pregnant New Yorkers whose fetuses have died get the treatment they need.

Lawmakers are pushing to improve maternal care in the state as a Capital Region maternity ward is expected to shutter due to significant financial losses.

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Hochul approves law to retain health care workforce in New York

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Health care workers with out-of-state licenses will be able to continue to practice in New York under a measure signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The measure is meant to address a since-expired COVID-era executive order that allowed nurses and physicians to operate in New York without an in-state license. More broadly, the law in part will help address an ongoing health care worker shortage in the state over the last several years.

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Hochul, lawmakers defend constitutionality of signed abortion law

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul says she's confident a law she signed Friday to protect abortion providers in the state will stand up in court ahead of anticipated constitutional challenges, and some medical doctors are ready to take her word for it.

The governor signed the measure on the eve of the U.S. Supreme Court's one-year anniversary of striking down Roe v. Wade to legally shield New York clinicians who prescribe abortion medication to patients who live in states where they may be restricted or outlawed.

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Planned Parenthood CEO reflects on 1 year since court overturned Roe

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A leaked opinion and a conservative court meant it wasn't necessarily a surprise when justices overturned Roe v. Wade a year ago.

However, Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York President Michelle Casey said there was still a difference between expectation and reality.

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Hochul signs law to protect abortion providers using telemedicine

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation Friday to embolden state legal protections for abortion providers who prescribe abortion medication to patients who live in states where they may be restricted or outlawed.

An increased number of out-of-state prescriptions for abortion medication is expected within days.

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New York bill passes to improve addiction services for LGBTQ+ people

BY Kate Lisa New York State

People in the LGBTQ+ community face greater discrimination and social stigma, which leads to a much higher rate of substance use and addiction disorders in that population, according to the National Institute of Health.

It prompted New York state assemblymembers to take action during their brief return to Albany this week to pass bill to improve the likelihood New Yorkers with different gender identities and sexual orientations will seek the substance use care they need.

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Amid overdose rise, New York launches addiction studies scholarship

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Three colleges in New York state are receiving money as part of the launch of a scholarship program to encourage students to study addiction services, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office on Thursday announced.

The money being made available as New York is contending with a sharp rise in overdose deaths over the last several years, which has coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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New York Assembly vote unlikely to expand health coverage to residents without legal status

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Efforts to expand health care coverage for people in New York without immigration status are likely at a standstill after Gov. Kathy Hochul doubled down on her concerns Tuesday about the cost of the proposal.

Members of the state Assembly remain focused on legislation that passed the Senate during a two-day special session in Albany this week, but chances of a measure passing to expand health care coverage for thousands of undocumented New Yorkers is growing slim.

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New York could change how medical debt impacts consumers

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Credit reporting agencies would be prohibited from collecting medical debt, nor would it be included in a consumer's credit report under legislation that will be heading to Gov. Kathy Hochul's desk.

The measure, given final passage in the state Assembly on Tuesday, is meant to address the estimated millions of people who carry medical debt and its impact on a person's ability to make large purchases or secure a loan to buy a home.

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New York advocates push for ban on for-profit hospice care

BY Tim Williams and Marisa Jacques New York State

End-of-life care is not something most people like to think or talk about until it is impacting them.

However, these caregivers help make the end of life transition an easier one for patients and loved ones. As the New York Assembly returns to Albany this week, one of the bills on their docket would prohibit new for-profit hospice centers in the state. Jeanne Chirico, of the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of New York State, told Capital Tonight that over the last decade there has been a nationwide trend toward for-profit hospice care.

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Postpartum coverage to expand to a full year in New York

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Postpartum health coverage will expand from 60 days to a full year under New York Medicaid and Child Health Plus, state health officials on Thursday announced.

The change is now in effect after federal approval was granted. The move includes enrollees regardless of their immigration status or how a pregnancy ended.

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New York labor, business and health care groups urge health coverage for residents without legal status

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Major health care, business and labor unions in New York are making a final push for the state Assembly to advance a measure that would use untapped federal funds to expand health care coverage to include residents without legal status who are living in the state.

The measure was approved in the state Senate in the waning days of the legislative session, but is yet to be taken up in the Assembly.

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Increased access to biomarker testing heads to Hochul's desk

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

A measure that would require insurance companies in New York to cover biomarker testing will head to Gov. Kathy Hochul's desk for her consideration after clearing both chambers of the Legislature on Thursday.

The measure has been backed by anti-cancer advocates as a way to expand options for patients. Insurance companies had previously put the measure into question over whether it is in the best interest of patients. But in a statement, an advocacy group pointed to changes to the bill.

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Wrongful death statute expansion pending Hochul's signature again

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Roughly a month ago, attorneys filed a broad lawsuit placing blame on a number of defendants, including social media platforms, for the May 14, 2022 murder of 10 Black people at a Buffalo Tops Supermarket.

Attorney John Elmore said they chose to move forward even as legislation expanding parts of New York's wrongful death statute remained before the state Legislature.

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Home health services could expand in New York

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Core health services like immunizations, verbal assessments and counseling could be provided in homes under legislation that will be headed to Gov. Kathy Hochul's desk.

The measure is meant to allow local health departments in New York to provide "light touch" services that include lead screenings as well as referral services.

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Lawmakers weigh health care for New Yorkers without legal status

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Migrants with asylum seeker status and undocumented New Yorkers could be in line for health care coverage after New York was granted approval to do so by the federal government this week.

But lawmakers will still have to pass legislation to do so in the next several days before the legislative session concludes in Albany.

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New transparency rules for prescription drugs head to Hochul's desk

BY Nick Reisman New York State

New requirements for transparency in prescription drug pricing are heading to Gov. Kathy Hochul's desk after the measure was granted final approval this week in the state Legislature.

If signed into law, drug makers would be required to notify the public of price increases before they take effect through the drug utilization review board — a move that supporters hope will lead to lower prices for consumers.

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After Hochul veto, lawmakers try again to offer non-religious substance abuse program

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Courts in New York state would be required to tell defendants of their right to a non-religious substance abuse treatment option under a measure given final passage in the state Senate this week.

The bill, which has already cleared the state Assembly, heads next to Gov. Kathy Hochul's office for her signature. But the measure faces an uncertain future after Hochul last year vetoed a previous version of the bill.

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To aid health care, New York lawmakers want tax hike on out-of-state insurers

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Health insurance firms that operate in New York and have out-of-state entities could be in line for a tax increase under a proposal backed by Democratic lawmakers and a powerful health care workers union.

The measure would apply a 9.63% tax on profits generated by insurance companies in New York that are sent out of state.

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New York health officials to end COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health workers

BY Nick Reisman New York State

New York state health officials signaled Wednesday a requirement that health care workers receive the COVID-19 vaccination will end as pandemic-era rules more broadly are expiring.

The announcement comes after years of legal challenges to the vaccine requirement, which resulted in health care workers who refused to receive the vaccine losing their jobs as a result.

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