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Our attorneys stay on top of changes in legislation, agency regulations, case law, and industry trends—then craft timely legal alerts to keep clients up to date on legal developments important to their business.

January 15, 2014

Ambulatory Care Reform

The New York State Public Health and Health Planning Council has approved in principle far ranging recommendations of the Department of Health to overhaul the agency's oversight of ambulatory care services. Reforms would assist in meeting the State's Triple Aim: better health for New York residents; high quality of care; and lower costs. Work groups have been meeting over the past year to design regulatory reform to meet the changing healthcare marketplace. Recommendations generally will require legislation. Significant changes may occur as these initiatives move through continuing concept development and the legislative and regulatory processes.

The reforms under consideration include:

  • By amendment of the Public Health Law, authorize a new category of Department of Health licensed Limited Service Clinics, commonly called Retail Clinics. A limited set of basic primary care health services could be provided (excluding surgical, dental, physical rehabilitation, mental health, substance abuse or birth services). Licensure and scope of practice regulations would be developed by the Department of Health.
  • By amendment of the Public Health Law, establish Department of Health authority to regulate Urgent Care Centers and establish licensure and scope of service requirements.
  • Through new Department of Health regulations, authorize the licensure of Freestanding Emergency Departments that are owned by hospitals. Scope of authorized services would be developed.

One of the driving forces behind these reforms is the expected increase in the need for primary care services and new sites of services due to the increase in privately insured persons and Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. Therefore, these initiatives may move rapidly through the State Legislature and through the Department of Health regulatory process.

Hiscock & Barclay has substantial experience in assisting its clients with applications for licensure under the Public Health Law and in compliance with Department of Health regulations. Please contact Eugene Laks of the Firm's Health Care and Human Services Practice Area at (518) 429-4228 or elaks@hblaw.com, or any other member of our Practice Area.

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