January 10, 2023
Governor Hochul Announces Plans to Build a Stronger Health Care System for the Future
Initiatives Will Transform the Cost and Delivery of Health Care and Address the Most Pressing Needs of Underserved Communities
Plans to Establish a Nation-Leading Public Health Disease Monitoring and Surveillance System to Prepare for Future Emergencies
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a series of bold proposals aimed at building a stronger health care system for New York State’s future and providing high-quality care for all New Yorkers as part of the 2023 State of the State. These proposals will transform the cost and delivery of care, address the most pressing health needs facing New Yorkers – especially those from underserved communities – and prepare for future public health emergencies.
“Through wise investments, careful planning, and the devoted efforts of the health care workforce, New York’s health care system is among the best in the nation,” Governor Hochul said. “But as we quickly learned during the pandemic, there are disparities in this system and areas that are strained. These proposals seek to address existing gaps in care, while also planning for future needs, so that all New Yorkers have access to strong and equitable health care.”
New York State Department of Financial Services Superintendent Adrienne A. Harris said, “No one should have to choose between their health and their financial security. The best protection against crushing medical debt is a commitment to an affordable and equitable healthcare system with transparency that empowers consumers, regardless of their socioeconomic status.”
Building on the historic $20 billion multi-year investment beginning in the FY 2023 Budget, Governor Hochul is proposing measures to build a comprehensive and evidence-based strategy for the health care system. These initiatives are also aimed at strengthening the foundation of the system to address the critical needs of New Yorkers and preparing for future emergencies by establishing a nation-leading public health disease monitoring and surveillance system.
Establish a Commission on the Future of Health Care
The Commission will provide ongoing strategic guidance to transform the health care system in New York State, with a goal to improve access to care, quality of care, and health outcomes. The Commission will identify ways to eliminate waste in the system, and create long-term stability, including a plan for struggling hospitals. The Commission will develop a comprehensive, evidence-based strategy and roadmap for transforming the health care system, guide statewide and regional planning with both short and long-term objectives across the continuum of care, make recommendations on policy, regulation, reimbursement, and other strategies to improve outcomes and transform care delivery, shape the allocation strategy of subsidies for financially distressed hospitals and nursing homes and health care capital, and drive strategic and operational initiatives of health care institutions.
Provide Health Care Capital Funding and Establish a Technology Capital Program
Governor Hochul proposes increasing health care capital funds – both to expand existing transformative capital funding and establish a new capital grant fund to enable technological upgrades that are in line with the state’s health care transformation goals. These funds will spur investment in modernization of health care facilities as well as utilization of advanced clinical technologies, cybersecurity tools, and other technological upgrades to improve quality of care, patient experience, accessibility, and efficiency.
Reform Traveling Nurse Agency Staffing Practices and Expand Licensure Flexibility
Governor Hochul will introduce legislation to require staffing agencies to register and report key data about their operations with the goal of increasing transparency into the utilization and costs of contract labor. Legislation will also be advanced to allow health care providers to do more under their licenses and to allow the State to join the Interstate Licensure Compact and the Nurse Licensure Compact, making it easier for physicians and nurses licensed in other states to practice in New York.
Increase Health Care Coverage and Affordability
Governor Hochul will make preventative care more readily available through several modifications to Medicaid coverage, including expanding access to services, such as supportive housing, nutritionists, and doulas, among other changes. Governor Hochul will also submit a waiver to expand the Medicaid buy-in program for New Yorkers with disabilities so they can work and still qualify for coverage. Also proposed are improvements to the Essential Plan, making coverage more affordable and more comprehensive for one million low-income New Yorkers by reducing out-of-pocket costs, expanding benefits, and increasing the availability of providers.
Expand Access to Primary Care
Investments in evidence-based interventions will help improve access to primary care. Governor Hochul will increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for primary care and for school-based health centers and ensure Medicaid coverage for primary and urgent care within the shelter system. Governor Hochul will expand coverage for community health workers who help New Yorkers navigate health and social services. In addition, Governor Hochul will support the integration of primary and mental health care by relaxing licensure restrictions on health care facilities, allowing Medicaid reimbursement for additional types of licensed mental health providers in community health centers and establishing a working group on integrated care.
Protect New Yorkers from Medical Debt
Building on efforts to reduce the burden of medical expenses on New Yorkers, Governor Hochul will create a comprehensive plan to address excessive medical debt. This will include amending the Consumer Credit Fairness Act to cover medical debt, launching an industry and consumer education campaign that addresses medical debt and affordability, and reforming hospital financial assistance applications to require hospitals to use a uniform application form. In addition, building on the Pharmacy Benefits Bureau launched last year, Governor Hochul is proposing to establish the strongest prescription drug price transparency program in the nation by requiring drug manufacturers to report changes in drug prices in advance and make that information publicly available to consumers. The proposal will also bring registration and transparency from additional participants in the historically opaque drug supply chain.
Modernize our Health Reporting Systems
New York will replace outdated health data reporting infrastructure with a nation-leading monitoring and surveillance system to inform targeted and appropriate responses to public health crises and to drive broader health care insights. This will include a first-in-the-nation analytic platform that combines real-time health information with other key data points, like social and chronic condition risk factors, to inform better decision-making.
Rebuild the Wadsworth Laboratories
Building on a $750 million investment in 2019, Governor Hochul will provide additional funding to consolidate the Wadsworth Laboratories, the State’s nation-leading public health research laboratory and home to cutting edge research on biomedical and environmental issues critical to protecting the health of New Yorkers. Wadsworth’s five unconnected sites located throughout the Capital Region will be consolidated into one state-of-the-art facility on Albany’s W. Averell Harriman Campus by 2030.
Strengthen New York’s Public Health Emergency Readiness Capacity
Governor Hochul will direct the State Department of Health to commit additional staff resources to work with other State agencies, local and national partners to build robust emergency response plans, conduct emergency response training, and ensure appropriate stockpiling of medical equipment and supplies.
Acting New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, New York renews its ongoing commitment to high-quality, affordable, and accessible health care for all. By expanding access and bringing resources to underserved communities, while also using technology to modernize and improve the public health system, Governor Hochul’s proposals expand on previous historic investments and will help create a health system that is more equitable, efficient, and effective at improving the health of all New Yorkers.”