2020 Legislative Session Wrap Up

The New York State Legislature gave final passage to an extraordinarily difficult State Budget for the 2020-21 Fiscal Year that seeks to close what could be upwards of a $15 Billion Budget deficit.  With a Budget consideration process that was very different than previous years due to the managing of the coronavirus pandemic, MSSNY continues to go through the thousands of pages of Budget bills, but some of the top line highlights include:
  • Continuation of the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance Program for another year, and rejecting proposals from the Medicaid Redesign Team to foist a 50% cost-share on the physician insureds, which could have been imposed thousands of dollars in new costs on the nearly 17,0000 physicians enrolled in the program.
  • Rejecting the Governor’s Budget proposal that would have severely curtailed important due process rights for physicians when a complaint has been filed against them to OPMC;
  • A 2-year extension of the existing physician-pharmacist collaborative drug program, and rejection of a proposal that would have greatly expanded the powers of pharmacists, and permitting nurse practitioners to also enter into such protocols
  • Ending the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and flavored vaping products;
  • Targeted health insurance reforms including creation of an administrative simplification workgroup, a required reporting to DFS of health insurer denial statistics, and hastening the timeframe for payment of claims when there has been a request for more information and that information has been provided.
  • Gives the NY Department of Financial Services power to investigate when a prescription drug price has gone up by over 50% in less than a year
  • Expansion of New York’s “surprise bill” law to include inpatient services that follow an emergency room visit, which will permit an out of network physician to bring these claims to the Independent Dispute Resolution process if they get an Assignment of Benefits from the patient.
  • Limits patient insulin co-payments to no more than $100 per 30 day supply.
  • Carving the Medicaid prescription drug benefit back into management by New York State, instead of by Medicaid Managed Care companies.
  • Continued funding of MSSNY’s Committee for Physician’s Health at its historical level.

Importantly, the Budget would also put into statute liability protections that had been set forth in a recent Governor’s Executive Order to provide qualified liability immunity to a physician or health care facility  (a) that is arranging for or providing health care services pursuant to a COVID-19 emergency rule;  (b) the act or omission occurs in the course of arranging for or providing  health care services and the treatment of the individual is impacted by the health care facility's or health care professional's decisions  or activities in response to or as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and in support of the state's directives; and (c) the health care facility or health care professional is arranging for or providing health care services in good faith.

Of significant note is a provision that will give the Governor significant discretion to adjust Medicaid payments across the Board throughout the fiscal year based upon the significant variability of revenue coming into New York State.  At the beginning of the year, the Governor implemented an across the Board 1% Medicaid cut, and the MRT2 recommended an across the board 1.875% cut.  This provision has the potential to bring about significant Medicaid cuts through the fiscal year based upon how quickly New York’s economy can recover.

MSSNY thanks the countless physicians for their grassroots advocacy on these key issues, as well as the great partnership with county medical and specialty society leaders in advocating for the many successful outcomes in this Budget, particularly during this extraordinarily difficult time.

We will follow up with a more in-depth report on the litany of health provisions in the State Budget that impact physicians and their patients.

Onondaga County Medical Society, 125 East Jefferson St; 1st Floor Lobby; Syracuse, NY 13202

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