The New York State Senate announced that final passage was given to several important health and mental health bills in the past week which will be sent to the Governor for review. The legislation passing both the Senate and Assembly include those to increase organ and tissue donation, provide crib safety information to new parents, educate hospital patients about important rights, and protect the well-being of children and adults served by out-of-state mental health facilities, among others.
· S5313A, sponsored by Senate Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon (R, Nassau County) helps increase the number of organ and tissue donors by lowering the age of consent for New Yorkers who choose to become a donor. This legislation will give New Yorkers aged 16 or older wishing to consent to donate the ability to enroll in the state’s Donate Life Registry. More information can be found here.
· S6730, sponsored by Senator Martin Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn), requires the state Department of Health to distribute crib safety information to maternity patients detailing safe sleeping procedures for babies, crib product recalls, and disclosure of the federal standards on the manufacture and sale of cribs. More information can be found here.
· S6347B, sponsored by Senator Hannon, requires each hospital’s Patient Bill of Rights and Responsibilities to include a statement with information including a list of standard charges, participating health plans, the right to be held harmless from surprise bills and emergency services bills, the independent dispute process, and to designate a caregiver upon being discharged.
· S7584, sponsored by Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee Chairman Robert Ortt (R-C-I, North Tonawanda), protects New York’s most vulnerable children and adults by giving necessary authority to the state’s Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs to visit, inspect, and appraise the management of out-of-state schools or facilities that serve New Yorkers.
· S6003, sponsored by Senator Hannon, would require any person who is not registered with the Department of Taxation and Finance to sell tobacco products and is selling electronic cigarettes to register with the state Department of Health. This would close a loophole that allows some retailers of electronic cigarettes who do not also sell tobacco cigarettes to avoid compliance checks that would ensure adherence to current laws.
· S7689, sponsored by Senator Susan Serino (R-C-I, Hyde Park), adds representatives of managed care plans or managed care plan trade associations who work in the early intervention field as members of the early intervention coordinating council. The Council makes recommendations to the state Department of Health regarding appropriate services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families, and adding these members would help open a public dialogue between managed care plans, early intervention providers, and the Department of Health.
· S6622, sponsored by Senator Ortt removes costs charged for access to clinical mental health records to an agency providing protection and advocacy services to disabled New Yorkers.