Health care transparency bills pass Senate |  Greene County

Health care transparency bills pass Senate | Greene County

ALBANY — Legislation to identify underserved health care areas was passed in the state Senate on Tuesday, along with a package of bills that would expand and strengthen access to reproductive health care, state Sen. Michelle Hinchey’s office said.

The Health Care Transparency Act would require the New York State Department of Health to publish a list of policy-based exclusions from all general hospitals in the state on its website and require hospitals, as part of the Patient Rights and Responsibilities Statement, to list policy -based exclusions and include a link to the Department of Health website.

Policy-based exclusions are health care services that hospitals are licensed to deliver, but choose not to provide, according to a statement from Hinchey’s office. In recent years, policy-based exclusions have primarily removed reproductive, gender-affirming and end-of-life care, leaving regions across the state with no access to these services.

“We should be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade this week, but instead we’re fighting to protect reproductive freedom for people everywhere,” Hinchey said. “New Yorkers deserve to know when their local hospital is removing reproductive care from their community, and my bill, the Health Care Transparency Act, will finally shine a light to help us combat this alarming trend.”

Hinchey said the legislation will help the state identify “health care deserts” and the impacts these “access gaps” have on communities and individuals statewide, which will develop future legislation and funding support earmarked to close the disparities.

The legislation will also give prospective patients the tools to determine whether the health care facility in their area provides the care they need before admission, allowing individuals to make informed decisions about where to obtain care, Hinchey said.

The other bills in the legislative package are:

Equal Rights Amendment: This adds new anti-discrimination protections to the New York State constitution, including explicit guarantees for reproductive rights and marriage equality.

Protections for Health Care Providers: This expands on last year’s omnibus actions to provide certain legal protections for reproductive health service providers who offer legally protected health activities, including protection from extradition, arrest, and legal proceedings in other states relating to such services.

Facilitates Access to Birth Control: This authorizes pharmacists to dispense hormonal contraception from a non-patient specific order written by a licensed physician or certified nurse practitioner, allowing people to bypass the challenges of obtaining medical appointments at offices with limited hours or inconvenient locations.

The Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program: This establishes a grant program within the Department of Health to build reproductive health care provider capacity within the state, fund uncompensated care and provide financial assistance.

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