senate Bill S6889

Establishes a domestic violence forensic examiner program

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 04 / Apr / 2012
    • REFERRED TO HEALTH
  • 15 / May / 2012
    • REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO FINANCE

Summary

Establishes a domestic violence forensic examiner program.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A9669
Versions:
S6889
Legislative Cycle:
2011-2012
Current Committee:
Senate Finance
Law Section:
Public Health Law
Laws Affected:
Add Art 27-M §2799-t, Pub Health L; amd §631, Exec L

Votes

15
0
15
Aye
0
Nay
2
aye with reservations
0
absent
0
excused
0
abstained
show Health committee vote details

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S6889

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend
the public health law and the executive law, in relation to establishing
a domestic violence forensic examiner program

PURPOSE:
To establish a statewide domestic violence forensic examiner
program for domestic violence survivors.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
The public health
law is amended by adding a new article 27-M. Article 27-M establishes
section 3799-t regarding the treatment of survivors of domestic
violence and maintenance of evidence and the establishment of a
domestic violence forensic examiner program. Section 1-4 requires the
commissioner promulgate rules and regulations for establishing a
statewide program through which an RN or physician shall provide
appropriate medical services to survivors, as well as provide a
report on or before November 13, 2016 evaluating the program.

Section 2 amends section 631 of the executive law by adding a new
subdivision 18 which provides that when any state accredited domestic
violence forensic examiner or licensed health care provider furnishes
services to a survivor of domestic violence, the health care giver
shall provide such services at no charge and shall bill the office
directly.
The office, in consultation with the DOH, shall determine which
services shall be covered by a newly established domestic violence
forensic examination reimbursement fee. The office, in consultation
with the DON, shall establish the reimbursement fee program and its
regulations. The reimbursement rate shall not exceed $650 dollars. A
domestic violence survivor may also have the option to utilize any
private benefits for the forensic examination in which case the
forensic health care provider may not charge tile office. The
domestic violence survivor mar decline to provide such information
regarding private benefits if he/she believes that it may interfere
with personal privacy or safety.

JUSTIFICATION:
The Family Justice Center of Erie County is home
to the only Forensic Medical Unit. (FMU) in all of NY State dedicated
to domestic violence, thanks to the partnership with University of
Buffalo Family Medicine. These full-time Registered Nurses document
end photograph (via electronic body mapping) client injuries using
high-tech digital camera equipment. This documentation is
immeasurable in its ability to detect injuries that traditional
hospital photographs cannot detect; the high tech equipment can also
detect pooling of blood under the skin from incidents like

strangulation; as one example. These visual records, which can take
four or more hours to produce, are then used by the District
Attorney in prosecutions, if the client wishes to press charges.
Additionally, the FMU nurse testifies at trial, as required.

The Forensic Medical Unit is one of the agency's most sought after
services and the Eric County District Attorney calls the records
generated by the FMU "invaluable" leading to increased plea bargains
and higher conviction rates. The increased plea bargains, thanks to
the FMU, save taxpayers the skyrocketing expense of trial. The DA's
office has put area hospitals on notice to send all domestic violence
victims to the Family Justice Center for injury documentation,
informing hospitals that traditional photos are not suitable
evidence for court. Not only does it save taxpayers money but it
saves victims the trauma of testifying at a trial along with avoiding
the trauma of being examined at a hospital; where the evidence is NOT
permissible in court. The forensic medical unit documentation is
permissible in court with conviction rates almost 100% of the time.

This legislation will allow for sustainability of FMU in the Family
Justice Center as a "one stop center" and will allow for
evaluation and expansion, over time, of forensic medical units in
other Family Justice Centers throughout New York State.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
New Bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect immediately.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  6889

                            I N  S E N A T E

                              April 4, 2012
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sen. GRISANTI -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Health

AN ACT to amend the public health law and the executive law, in relation
  to establishing a domestic violence forensic examiner program

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.   The public health law is amended by adding a new article
27-M to read as follows:
                              ARTICLE 27-M
                       DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FORENSIC
                            EXAMINER PROGRAM
SECTION 2799-T. TREATMENT OF SURVIVORS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND  MAINTE-
                  NANCE OF EVIDENCE; DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FORENSIC EXAMINER
                  PROGRAM ESTABLISHED.
  S  2799-T. TREATMENT OF SURVIVORS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND MAINTENANCE
OF EVIDENCE; DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FORENSIC EXAMINER PROGRAM ESTABLISHED. 1.
THE COMMISSIONER SHALL ESTABLISH A PROGRAM IN THIS STATE THROUGH WHICH A
TRAINED NURSE PRACTITIONER, PHYSICIAN'S ASSISTANT, REGISTERED  NURSE  OR
PHYSICIAN  SHALL  PROVIDE  APPROPRIATE FORENSIC EXAMINATIONS AND RELATED
MEDICAL SERVICES TO SURVIVORS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
  2. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL, IN CONSULTATION WITH  THE  COMMISSIONER  OF
CRIMINAL  JUSTICE SERVICES, DESIGNATE FACILITIES LOCATED IN THE STATE AS
OFFICIAL SITES FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FORENSIC EXAMINER PROGRAMS.
  3. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL PROMULGATE SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS AS MAY
BE NECESSARY AND PROPER TO CARRY OUT EFFECTIVELY THE PROVISIONS OF  THIS
SECTION.  PRIOR  TO PROMULGATING SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS, THE COMMIS-
SIONER SHALL CONSULT WITH RELEVANT POLICE AGENCIES,  FORENSIC  LABORATO-
RIES,  AND  OTHER SUCH PERSONS AS THE COMMISSIONER DEEMS NECESSARY. SUCH
RULES AND REGULATIONS SHALL: (A) IDENTIFY ANY CRIMINAL OFFENSES  SUBJECT
TO  THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION; (B) PROVIDE DEFINITIONS FOR EVIDENCE
COLLECTED IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES, AND (C) REQUIRE EACH  FACILITY  TO
CONTACT  ITS  LOCAL  POLICE  AGENCY AND FORENSIC LABORATORY TO DETERMINE
THEIR SPECIFIC NEEDS OR REQUIREMENTS.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD14934-01-2

S. 6889                             2

  4. ON OR BEFORE NOVEMBER THIRTIETH, TWO THOUSAND SIXTEEN, THE  COMMIS-
SIONER  SHALL  PROVIDE A REPORT TO THE GOVERNOR, THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT
OF THE SENATE AND THE SPEAKER OF THE ASSEMBLY, CONCERNING  THE  DOMESTIC
VIOLENCE  FORENSIC EXAMINER PROGRAM ESTABLISHED UNDER THIS SECTION. SUCH
REPORT  SHALL  INCLUDE  AN EVALUATION OF THE EFFICACY OF SUCH PROGRAM IN
OBTAINING USEFUL FORENSIC EVIDENCE IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES AND ASSUR-
ING QUALITY TREATMENT TO SURVIVORS OF  DOMESTIC  VIOLENCE.  SUCH  REPORT
SHALL  ALSO  RECOMMEND WHETHER THIS PROGRAM SHOULD BE EXPANDED AND SHALL
ESTIMATE THE FINANCIAL COST, IF ANY, OF SUCH EXPANSION.
  S 2. Section 631 of the executive law  is  amended  by  adding  a  new
subdivision 18 to read as follows:
  18. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, RULE, OR REGULATION TO
THE  CONTRARY,  WHEN  ANY  NEW  YORK  STATE ACCREDITED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
FORENSIC EXAMINER PROGRAM OR LICENSED  HEALTH  CARE  PROVIDER  FURNISHES
SERVICES  TO  A SURVIVOR OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED
TO, A HEALTH CARE FORENSIC EXAMINATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH  THE  DOMESTIC
VIOLENCE  EVIDENCE  COLLECTION PROTOCOL AND STANDARDS ESTABLISHED BY THE
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, SUCH DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FORENSIC  EXAMINER  PROGRAM
OR  LICENSED  HEALTH  CARE  PROVIDER SHALL PROVIDE SUCH SERVICES TO SUCH
PERSON WITHOUT CHARGE AND SHALL BILL THE OFFICE DIRECTLY.
  (A) THE OFFICE, IN CONSULTATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF  HEALTH,  SHALL
DEFINE  THE  SPECIFIC  SERVICES  TO  BE COVERED BY THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
FORENSIC EXAMINATION REIMBURSEMENT FEE.
  (B) THE OFFICE, IN CONSULTATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF  HEALTH,  SHALL
ESTABLISH  A  DIRECT REIMBURSEMENT PROGRAM AND SHALL GENERATE THE NECES-
SARY REGULATIONS AND FORMS FOR SUCH PROGRAM. THE RATE FOR  REIMBURSEMENT
SHALL BE THE AMOUNT OF ITEMIZED CHARGES, NOT TO EXCEED SIX HUNDRED FIFTY
DOLLARS, TO BE REVIEWED AND ADJUSTED ANNUALLY BY THE OFFICE IN CONSULTA-
TION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH. THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FORENSIC EXAM-
INER  PROGRAM  OR  LICENSED  HEALTH  CARE  PROVIDER  SHALL  ACCEPT  SUCH
REIMBURSEMENT AS PAYMENT IN FULL FOR SUCH SPECIFIED SERVICES.  NO  ADDI-
TIONAL BILLING OF THE SURVIVOR FOR SUCH SERVICES IS PERMISSIBLE.
  (C) A SURVIVOR OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MAY VOLUNTARILY ASSIGN ANY PRIVATE
INSURANCE  BENEFITS  TO  WHICH SHE OR HE IS ENTITLED FOR THE HEALTH CARE
FORENSIC EXAMINATION, IN WHICH CASE THE HOSPITAL OR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER
MAY NOT CHARGE THE OFFICE. A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FORENSIC EXAMINER PROGRAM
OR LICENSED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER SHALL,  AT  THE  TIME  OF  THE  INITIAL
VISIT,  REQUEST  ASSIGNMENT  OF ANY PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE BENEFITS TO
WHICH THE SURVIVOR OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS ENTITLED ON A FORM PRESCRIBED
BY THE OFFICE. SUCH SURVIVOR OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SHALL BE ADVISED ORAL-
LY AND IN WRITING THAT HE OR SHE MAY DECLINE TO PROVIDE SUCH INFORMATION
REGARDING PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE BENEFITS IF HE OR SHE  BELIEVES  THAT
THE PROVISION OF SUCH INFORMATION WOULD SUBSTANTIALLY INTERFERE WITH HIS
OR  HER  PERSONAL  PRIVACY  OR  SAFETY  AND  IN SUCH EVENT, THE DOMESTIC
VIOLENCE FORENSIC EXAMINATION FEE SHALL BE  PAID  BY  THE  OFFICE.  SUCH
SURVIVOR  OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SHALL ALSO BE ADVISED THAT PROVIDING SUCH
INFORMATION MAY PROVIDE ADDITIONAL RESOURCES  TO  PAY  FOR  SERVICES  TO
OTHER DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORS. IF HE OR SHE DECLINES TO PROVIDE SUCH
HEALTH  INSURANCE INFORMATION, HE OR SHE SHALL INDICATE SUCH DECISION ON
SUCH FORM PROVIDED BY THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FORENSIC EXAMINER PROGRAM OR
LICENSED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER, AS PRESCRIBED BY THE OFFICE.
  S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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