Updates from the Committee on Health

Assembly Health Committee Reports 33 Bills
Nurse staffing levels and hospital community advisory boards among issues advancing in Albany
May 20, 2011

The Assembly Committee on Health favorably reported 33 bills at its meetings on May 3, 10 and 17. For more information on a particular bill, please contact the sponsor listed after the description. For the text of a bill, its supporting memorandum, and information on its status, go to: http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/menuf.cgi

Reported May 3:

Flavored Tobacco Product Restrictions – Helps to decrease the use of tobacco products among children by prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products, with limited exceptions. (Federal restrictions only apply to cigarettes.) (A.288-A, Paulin)

Protecting Populations from Lead – Requires the Health commissioner to take action when an area of lead poisoning has been designated. (A.717, Dinowitz)

Safe Staffing Levels – Requires the Department of Health to set nurse staffing standards for hospitals and nursing homes, to increase quality of care. (A.921, Gottfried)

“Chemical Cremation” of Cadavers – Allows medical schools to use chemical means as an alternative to cremation of cadavers that have been used in medical education. Alkaline hydrolysis is a safe and environmentally better alternative to cremation. (A.1223, Bing)

Protecting Minors from Hepatitis – Allows a minor in a state or local correctional facility to consent to hepatitis B vaccination without parental consent. (A.2812, Schimel)

Farm Worker Pesticide Protection – Expands worker protection standards and guidelines for protection from pesticides on farms. (A.4050, Englebright)

Banning Smoking on MTA Platforms – Prohibits smoking in outdoor areas of Metropolitan Transportation Authority railroad stations, including platforms and waiting areas. (A.5516-B, Jaffee)

Protecting Patients with Limited English Proficiency – Requires residential healthcare facilities to provide information on reporting incidents of abuse within the facility in multiple languages. (A.6071-A, Meng)

Requiring Hospital Community Advisory Boards – Requires every hospital to have a community advisory board and community service plan. (A.7074, Gottfried)

Reported May 10:

Genetic Disease Screening and Counseling – Authorizes grants for familial dysautonomia, Canavan’s and Tay-Sachs disease screening and counseling, subject to appropriation. (A.412, Dinowitz)

Lupus Education and Outreach – Creates a Lupus education and outreach program within the Health Department. (A.459, Gibson).

Lung Cancer Education and Outreach Program – Establishes an income tax check-off to fund lung cancer education and outreach. (A.543, Gibson)

Religious Objections to Vaccination – Strengthens a parent’s right to have a child exempted from vaccination based on religious belief, by prohibiting the school from rejecting the parent’s affidavit of religious belief. (A.592, Gottfried)

Child Vaccination – Strengthens the rule that a child is exempt from school vaccination requirements if the child’s health care provider certifies that the vaccination could be harmful to the child, by requiring the school to accept the health care provider’s judgment. (A.593, Gottfried)

Adult Home Resident Rights – Gives adult home residents the right to designate legal representative, choose their own health care providers, and to be fully informed about, and refuse, treatment. (A.595, Gottfried)

Lawsuits Against Nursing Homes – Clarifies that a nursing home patient’s legal representative, family member, or estate can sue the nursing home for abuse or injury of the patient. (A.657, Gottfried)

Adult Home Temporary Operators – When an adult home dangerously fails to meet standards, creating an emergency, the Health Department can appoint a temporary operator to run it. This bill makes clear that the temporary operator has broad authority (like a court-appointed receiver) to run the facility to protect the health, safety, and quality of life of the residents. (A.663, Gottfried)

Ceiling Lifts in Hospitals and Nursing Homes – Back and muscle injury from the strain of lifting patients is the leading cause of disability for health care workers. This bill requires the instillation of mechanical ceiling lifts in all newly built or renovated hospitals and nursing homes. (A.664, Gottfried)

Clinical Trial Access & Education Fund – Lowers barriers to participation in clinical trials in New York State by creating a state grant program to help pay for travel and lodging for patients and family members. (A.807, Gottfried)

Prison Health Standards – Prison and jail health facilities are exempt from Health Department regulation and oversight. This bill would end that exemption so health care meets basic professional standards. (A.810, Gottfried)

Residents Right to Sue Adult Homes – Lets adult home residents go to court for a court-appointed receiver to operate the adult home when the operator has endangered the health, safety, or welfare of the residents. (A. 2231, Rivera)

Medicaid Costs for Patient Care in the Home – Exempts home care agency spending for certain activities related to patient care (like care coordination and telemedicine monitoring) from limits placed on Medicaid payments for administrative expenses. (A.3683, Gottfried)

Lead Monitoring in Children’s Products – Requires the Health Department to regulate the lead levels in candy, soft vinyl lunch boxes, and bibs; and prohibits the sale or distribution of candy with lead. (A.3815, Englebright)

Protection from Hazardous Materials – Requires that the state provide to hospitals information on environmentally sensitive commodities and services to reduce exposure to harmful materials. (A.3945, Englebright)

Hospital Renovation and Construction – Requires hospital construction projects to meet state environmental standards, especially for indoor air quality and avoiding environmentally hazardous sites. (A.3953, Englebright)

Reporting Pesticide Poisoning – Requires health care providers to report cases of pesticide poisoning to the Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Conservation, with investigation by DEC. (A.3954, Englebright)

Responsible Pesticide Management in Hospitals – Establishes requirements for integrated pest management plans for hospitals and requirements for notification of hospital occupants about pesticide applications. (A.4352, Englebright)

HIV/AIDS Health Care Provider Cultural Education – Authorizes grants for cultural education programs for HIV/AIDS health care providers covering patient cultural traditions or beliefs. (A.4552, Rivera)

Raising the Age Limit for Smoking – Increases the minimum age for selling tobacco and tobacco products from 18 to 19. (A.4863, Galef)

Transportation for Displaced Residents – Allows Medicaid reimbursement for Medicaid recipients who require non-emergency medical transportation for displacement from their residence due to pest control. (A.6101, Kellner)

No Smoking in Parks – Prohibits smoking in public parks to protect others from second-hand smoke. Modeled on recent New York City legislation. (A.6156-A, Dinowitz)

Feeding Our Communities – Creates the Community Food Security, Empowerment and Economic Development (SEED) Program to increase the self-sufficiency of low-income communities in providing for their food needs. (A.6770, Cook)

Reported May 17:

Certification for EMT Workers – Extends a pilot program in Suffolk County exempting emergency medical technicians, who adequately demonstrate appropriate continuation of education and practices, from having to take a written exam to renew their certification. (A.7517, Sweeney)