A. 4071/S. 870 Add Consumers to the Public Health and Health Planning Council

Posted May 1, 2019 by Amanda Dunker

Memorandum in Support of A. 4071/S. 870
An ACT to amend the Public Health Law,in relation to membership on the New York State Public Health and Health Planning Council

Health Care for All New York (HCFANY) is a statewide coalition of consumer-focused organizations dedicated to achieving quality, affordable health coverage for all New Yorkers, and ensuring that the concerns of real New Yorkers are heard and reflected in policy conversations. We support A.4071 to increase the membership of the Public Health and Health Planning Council (PHHPC) to 36, with at least four members representing health care consumer advocacy organizations.

The PHHPC plays an important role in reviewing and approving proposed changes in the health care delivery system involving hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, diagnostic and treatment center, home health agencies and nursing homes. Decisions made by the PHHPC can dramatically affect consumers’ access to timely, affordable care in their own communities. For example, hospital mergers, downsizing or closures could potentially require consumers to travel to other locations for care or cause increases in the price of health care.

Currently, the PHHPC has many representatives from health care providers, but there are no representatives of consumer health advocacy organization. Existing Public Health Law requires that “at least one” of the PHHPC members be from a consumer health advocacy organization, but that seat has been vacant for over two years.

Consumers should have a say in state review of proposed health system changes that impact their care. Expanding PHHPC membership to include more seats for consumer advocates, and ensuring that those seats are filled, will allow the concerns of consumers to be better reflected in PHHPC decisions. This would help facilitate health care system delivery changes that better serve the needs of health care consumers.

For these reasons, HCFANY strongly urges the enactment of this bill.