2014 Legislative Session Review

Resident Advocacy Program

The Resident Advocacy Program (RAP) offers ob/gyn residents the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of policy and political factors that shape the future of obstetrics and gynecology. RAP’s primary goal is to better prepare a new generation of physicians to influence the future of our healthcare delivery system through the recognition of the physician’s role as the medical expert and leading advocate for women’s health in policy and government.

  • 2014 RAP Class consisted of 15 residents, representing the following 6 programs:
    • NYP- Columbia University Medical Center
    • Montefiore Medical Center/AECOM
    • NYU School of Medicine (new program to join in 2014)
    • New York Presbyterian Hospital - Weill Cornell Medical College
    • SUNY Upstate
    • Beth Israel Medical Center/AECOM
  • New opportunities & exciting events:
    • Dr. Uva & Dr. Cepin served as Legislative Committee Fellow mentors.
    • Participation in a press conference in support of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, with Dr. Ester Dorzin from SUNY Upstate, speaking on behalf of District II
    • Dr. Emilee Vander Harr from Columbia University Medical Center, met then-DOH Commissioner, Dr. Nirav Shah.
    • The groups from Montefiore and NYU met and received a personal tour of the Hall of Governors by Governor Cuomo.  

Legislation

  • Midwifery Birth Centers - This bill would provide for the creation, establishment, and operation of birth centers which could be owned and operated solely by midwives.
    • Current law allows for the creation and operation of free standing birth centers in New York and ensures essential patient safety provisions and contingency plans are adhered through government oversight and regulation.
    • The committee did a great deal of work on this bill in the last weeks of session by formulating a position; drafting an opposition memo for distribution to the entire legislature; developing proposed amendments; and lobbying extensively.
    • Click here for the Bill's Sponsors Memo.
    • Assembly – Passed on Monday, June 17th without any debate 132-2
    • Senate – Hannon version on 3rd reading calendar.
    • Bill dies!!

  • Pregnant Workers Fairness Act - This bill requires the provision of reasonable accommodations for pregnant women in the workplace.
    • This legislation had been reviewed as a standalone bill and as the ninth point of Governor Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act.
    • The Assembly introduced a standalone bill outside of the women’s equality act, giving it a realistic chance for movement and/or passage in both houses this year.
    • Coalition established with A Better Balance & the March of Dimes
    • Assembly passed the entire women’s equality act in January & stood firm on an “all or nothing” vote for the Women’s Equality Act, thus perpetuating a stalemate.
    • The coalition acknowledged this as a possibility & will carry over the movement to next year’s session.
    • Click here for the Bill's Sponsors Memo.
    • Passed Senate on Thursday, June 12th 54/ Assembly- no action. Bill dies. 
       
  • Maternal Depression - This bill defines maternal depression; identifies accepted guidelines for screening; provides follow-up support and referral information; and promotes awareness and education with the intent to de-stigmatize maternal depression.
  • Licensing of Genetic Counselors - Provides for the licensing of genetic counselors and creates the state committee for genetic counseling.
    • District II was asked to support by Genetic Counselors Association.
    • A grandfather clause was negotiated and introduced on June 13th.
    • Click here for the Bill's Sponsors Memo.
    • No movement in either house.  
       
  • Medical Liability Bills – A package of bills supported by trial lawyers are of great concern, which prompted a coalition of medical specialties and MSSNY to form and lobby against their passage. The coalition was successful in preventing all the bills from moving through both houses, bills included the following:
  • CME Requirements - The bill would require physicians to take every two years coursework on I-Stop and drug enforcement administration requirements for prescribing control substances; pain management; appropriate prescribing; managing acute pain; pain; palliative medicine; preventative, screening and signs of addiction; responses to abuse and addiction; and end of life care.
    • District II along with a coalition of medical specialty societies and MSSNY voiced our opposition with the intention of stopping the bill from passage in the Assembly.
    • Click here for the Bill's Sponsors Memo.
    • Senate- Passed / Assembly- 3rd reading calendar. Bill dies.

Other Key Health Bills

  • Medical Marijuana - The Compassionate Care Act, Championed by Senator Diane Savino, will permit only doctors to prescribe marijuana in oil-based and vapor forms to individuals with certain conditions including cancer, AIDS, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.
    • Does not legalize smokable forms, making it much narrower in scope.
    • Allows the governor, upon recommendation by the state police superintendent or the state health commissioner, to suspend the program at any time.
    • New York will be the 23rd state in the country to legalize in any form.
    • Only the 2nd, in addition to Minnesota, to ban smokable forms of the drug.
    • Passed both houses w/message of necessity – Assembly 117-13 / Senate 49-10
    • Signed by Governor
       
  • Opioid & Heroin package of 11 billsMain components of the legislation include:
    • Increases awareness and prevention efforts;
    • Ensures that the lifesaving antidote naloxone is used safely and effectively;
    • Increases access to treatment programs; and
    • Strengthens state law to prevent the distribution of illegal drugs.
    • Unanimously passed both houses
    • Signed by Governor