News & Info for NYS Council Members – 3/29/2024

March 29, 2024

Nurse Practitioner Extender Passed the Senate, Just Delivered to the Assembly

Yesterday the New York state Legislature passed and Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill into law to keep our government running through April 4 at 11:59 pm.  The State Fiscal Year (and so, all spending authority including borrowing, spending, payroll, etc.) ends on April 1, 2024, so the extender bill was necessary to keep the trains running beyond April 1.

Included in the bill was the Nurse Practitioner (NP) proposal extending NP independent practice for another two years through April 1, 2026 which was part of the Governor’s original SFY 2025 Executive Budget Health and Mental Hygiene Article VII bill (see attached).  The caveat in the extender is that this provision must also be in the Final SFY 25 State Budget or the extension is null and void.  The legislature also passed a less controversial portion of the budget extending debt obligations to avoid a downgrading of the state’s credit rating.

While opposed widely by each and every medical society in the state this proposal was included in the One-House Budgets of the Senate and Assembly and appears likely to pass in the final budget, and this is at least part of the reasoning for the Governor having included it in the extender bill.  

Last year’s state budget, which was largely held up due to disagreements on how to address changes to bail reform, only passed on May 2 with lawmakers and the governor extending funding levels six times.

Lawmakers are due back in Albany on Tuesday.

Directly below please find more press from our OMIG Audit Reform press conference on Wednesday:

The Battle Over Medicaid Audits

By Jason Beeferman | Politico Pro | March 29, 2024

Assemblymember Amy Paulin agrees with stopping fraud and abuse within the Medicaid system. But she also wants to stop the state’s Medicaid Inspector General from punishing “already stretched and understaffed” Medicaid providers for unintentional clerical errors.

“They’re jeopardizing health care providers that are doing a good job, not committing fraud in any way,” Paulin said.

Paulin and Sen. Pete Harckham are promoting a bill that would change the way the state’s Office of the Medicaid Inspector General performs audits. It would also adjust the standards for the recovery of payments after an audit.

The billA.6813-B/S.5329-D, has bipartisan support from over 40 cosponsors in the two Houses, but its merits are contested by OMIG.

“This legislation would modify the OMIG’s ability to enforce such standards by limiting the audit and recovery of Medicaid claims that were improperly justified,” office spokesperson Bill Schwarz said in a statement.

Proponents of the bill contend that OMIG issues fines and penalties for “technical errors.” But OMIG says audit recoveries are not penalties or fines. Instead, the audits only ask providers to return any money paid inappropriately.

“Monies paid to providers to which they are not entitled must be returned to the State,” OMIG said in a second statement, adding that the audits reflect what is required under regulation and state and federal law.

Still, lawmakers say they’ve heard from Medicaid providers in their districts that were the subject of unfair treatment.

Assemblymember Harvey Epstein, one of the bill’s cosponsors, said abortion provider ParkMed, located in his district, was “targeted” by OMIG and fined nearly $1 million for “correctable technical errors” that occurred when the provider switched electronic billing systems.

“The tactics used during Medicaid audits conducted by the NYS OMIG are needlessly punitive and, ultimately, ineffective in preventing fraud and abuse in the healthcare system,” he said in a statement.Some local press, as well:

And Rockland Report:


What We’re Watching in New York State’s FY25 BudgetRockefeller Institute of Government, 3/28/24
New York State’s fiscal year 2025 budget deadline is approaching. As we enter the final negotiation period ahead, we have a chance to compare the different budget proposals, what they have to offer, and consider the potential outcomes. In a new blog, Institute researchers highlight some key issues in different areas of the budget that intersect with their research in healthcare, education, fiscal analysis, cannabis policy, and environmental issues. Continue Reading…

In These State Prisons, Addiction Treatment Is Out of Reach
Stark disparities in access to life-saving medication for opioid addiction persist between facilities — and racial groups.By Spencer Norris  NY Focus, 3/22/24Speaking in Albany last month, New York’s commissioner for addiction said that all of the state’s jails and prisons were providing the “gold standard” for treating opioid addiction.“I am very proud to report that all 44 prisons and all 58 jails are implementing all forms of medication treatment for substance use disorders,” said Chinazo Cunningham, commissioner of the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, or OASAS, during a joint legislative hearing on February 13.Many prisons appear to be doing well: Across facilities, 91 percent of applications reviewed were granted, suggesting that the people who requested the medication are, for the most part, receiving it. But internal data from the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, which runs the state prison system, show that stark disparities in access persist. Some facilities have made the life-saving treatment less widely available than Cunningham indicated.Read the full story here:

The DoH Telehealth Provider Survey results are now available on the New York State (NYS) Department of Health (DOH) Medicaid Telehealth website, via infographic.  Also available on this page, please find results from the Telehealth Consumer Survey.