The New York State Senate today announced that final passage was given to a vital measure that will improve access to and coverage for breast cancer screening for women throughout the state. The bill (S8093), sponsored by Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan (R-C-I, East Northport), is part of an agreement with the Governor and the Assembly to facilitate breast cancer detection by eliminating cost-sharing for screening, extending hours for mammography services, and ensuring all public employees in the state are afforded work leave for screening.
Senator Flanagan said, “We all recognize that early detection continues to be the best way to survive breast cancer. This legislation is about giving women the chance to live long, healthy lives and that is why it is critical that we do everything possible to encourage women to get the screenings they need and deserve. I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their dedication to getting something so vital done for the women of New York.”
Expanding Breast Cancer Screening by Eliminating Insurance Cost Requirements
This measure removes the cost-sharing (e.g. annual deductibles or coinsurance) requirements for screening and diagnostic imaging for the detection of breast cancer. Eliminating these insurance barriers will prevent women from paying out-of-pocket for breast cancer screening, including imaging for the detection of breast cancer, diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasounds, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Extending Hours for Mammography Services
To help individuals whose schedules may prevent them from finding available appointments to schedule mammograms, the bill requires hospitals and their extension clinics that provide mammography services throughout the state to provide extended hours in the early morning, evening, or on the weekend, in two-hour increments on at least two days, for a total of at least four hours each week. Facilities can choose between the following time slots to fulfill the requirements: 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday or Sunday.
Allotting Work-Leave Hours for Breast Cancer Screening
To further encourage and ensure access to regular screening and early detection, this measure allows New York City public employees to take up to four hours of excused leave per year for breast cancer screening. This will give them the same opportunity to get screened as public employees in the rest of the state.
The bill will be sent to the Governor.