New York updates hospital patients' bill of rights

September 01, 2016

Health Care Alert

On August 18, 2016, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation updating requirements for the general hospital patients’ bill of rights to reflect recent changes in law addressing surprise bills and the Caregiver Advise, Record and Enable (CARE) Act.

In 2015, two important patient protections were enacted in New York law—the law to prevent and address surprise medical bills and the Caregiver, Advise, Record and Enable (CARE) Act (in Public Health Law Article 29-CCCC). The surprise medical bill law requires disclosures from insurers, hospitals, health care professionals and physicians to ensure network adequacy and to hold insured consumers harmless with regard to bills for emergency services, surprise bills and services rendered out-of-network when there is no in-network provider. An independent dispute resolution process was established to resolve billing disputes for emergency care and surprise bills. See Nixon Peabody Alerts dated January 28March 24 and October 23, 2015. The CARE Act, which is effective April 23, 2016, permits patients to identify caregivers while the patient is still in the hospital, includes caregivers in the discharge plan and requires hospitals to provide instruction about post-discharge care for the caregiver.

Governor Cuomo has now signed Chapter 241 of the Laws of 2016 to amend Public Health Law §2803(1) to require the statement of patients’ rights and responsibilities that is given to each patient and posted publicly in the hospital to include (1) provisions informing the patient of his or her right to choose to submit surprise bills or bills for emergency services to the independent dispute resolution process and informing the patient of his or her right to view a list of the hospital’s standard charges and the health plans with which the hospital participates and (2) provisions informing the patient of his or her right to choose to identify a caregiver.

These changes to the patients’ bill of rights will be effective February 15, 2017. The Commissioner of Health is authorized to amend regulations implementing the changes (at 10 NYCRR § 405.7) before that date. General hospitals should plan to educate appropriate staff about these laws so that they are able to respond to patient and family questions.

The foregoing has been prepared for the general information of clients and friends of the firm. It is not meant to provide legal advice with respect to any specific matter and should not be acted upon without professional counsel. If you have any questions or require any further information regarding these or other related matters, please contact your regular Nixon Peabody LLP representative. This material may be considered advertising under certain rules of professional conduct.

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