On Monday October 26, Governor Cuomo signed The CARE (Caregiver, Advise, Record, and Enable) Act into law, officially allowing hospital patients to designate a caregiver in their medical records. Hospitals are required to inform the official caregiver when the patient is discharged or transferred to another facility, discuss the care plan, and provide them with instructions on how to perform certain medical tasks. By doing so, medical specialists can both make the healing process more effective and avoid unnecessary hospital readmissions.
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates approximately 17 billion dollars of Medicare funds is spent annually on hospital readmissions. New York has above-average rates of hospital readmissions, with the Bronx suffering the highest rates in the nation. New York State has been working to reduce hospital readmissions through the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program (DSRIP), the New York State Health Insurance program (NY-SHIP), and other health system transformation projects. The CARE Act is one tool that will reinforce all other programs to achieve this goal.
Caregivers are essential in coordinating health care services. The New York State Office for the Aging (SOFA) estimates that 4.1 million caregivers in New York State provide care valued at $32 billion a year. The CARE Act enables them to provide effective health care for their family members by providing them all necessary tools and support for doing such important work.