Governor Kathy Hochul delivered her State of the State of the State address on January 10, outlining her vision for the 2023 Legislative Session. The Governor is expected to release the 2023-24 NYS Executive Budget on Wednesday, February 1, 2023.
Hochul’s health care priorities include proposals to work toward a health care system for the future which takes a holistic approach at addressing the quality of care, improving affordability, and proposing concrete steps to addressing the health care staffing crisis. These include:
- “Transform How Health Care is Delivered and Paid For” – Establishes the Future of Health Care Commission to provide ongoing strategic guidance; offer a data-driven view of the State’s health care delivery system; develop an evidence-based strategy to transform the system; guide statewide and regional planning; make recommendations on policy, regulation, reimbursement and other strategies to improve outcomes; re-shape the allocation strategy (re. subsidies for financially distressed hospitals and nursing homes), and health care capital funding; and drive strategic and operational assessments and transformation initiatives. Allocates additional health care capital to transformative projects.
- Reform Traveling Nurse Agency Staffing Practices – Requires staffing agencies to register and report data relating to their operations, with the goal of increasing transparency into the utilization and costs of contract labor.
- Expand Scopes of Practice – Makes permanent expansions to scopes of practice effectuated in Executive Order No. 4; allows New York to join the Interstate Licensure Compact and the Nurse Licensure Compact.
There are additional proposal aimed at expanding access to preventative, primary and behavioral health. A more detailed analysis of the specifics of these proposals will be provided as they become available.
- Expand Insurance Coverage for Mental Health Services – Addresses “gaps in coverage” for behavioral health services; mandates coverage of medically necessary, high-need, acute, and crisis mental health services for adults and children; establishes appointment availability and geographic accessibility standards for behavioral health services; and requires payment parity for behavioral health services provided via telehealth.
- Enhance Essential Plan Coverage – Governor Hochul will explore several changes to the Essential Plan, including: (1) reducing cost sharing for patients; (2) increasing reimbursement rates for health care providers; (3) expanding funding for health plans to broaden coverage of mental health and social services; (4) and requiring health plans to spend more on patient care.
- Establish a Health Guaranty Fund – Governor Hochul will explore creation of a fund to protect New Yorkers if a health insurer becomes financially impaired or insolvent, similar to what is in place for life and property insurers.
- Require Coverage of School-Based Mental Health Services – Mandates that reimbursement by commercial insurers is equivalent to the applicable Medicaid rate.