Amid a torrent of recent bill signings, Governor Hochul signed into law a measure (S4640/A273) mandating physicians treating painful neuromusculoskeletal conditions to consider, discuss, and, if appropriate, refer or prescribe non-opioid treatments before prescribing an opioid.
NYSSOS aggressively opposed this measure along with many other stakeholders due to its inherent interference with the physician-patient relationship and negation of the physician's expertise regarding treatment for neuromuscular problems. The enactment of this law was one of five bills signed by Governor Hochul to enhance access to care and treatment for substance use disorders. NYSSOS will continue to work with policymakers to mitigate the impact of the measure
In the meantime, NYSSOS is seeking clarity from state regulators concerning compliance and general implementation information. We will share any guidance provided by the state as soon as it becomes available.
In another action, Governor’s Hochul vetoed a bill (A879/S8113) that would have established important qualifications for clinical peer reviewers, who insurers and health plans use to make medical necessity determinations. The legislation would have required the reviewer to be a physician licensed in New York State and of the same or similar specialty as the physician who would typically manage the medical condition or disease or provide the treatment under review. Under current law, the reviewer does not have to be a physician licensed in New York State or have board certification and/or eligibility in the same or similar specialty.
NYSSOS joined with other organizations, including the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY), to advocate in support of this measure. The governor’s veto message included a number of reasons for rejecting the measure, chief among them the concern that it would “pull specialists out of health care and into claims review, removing them from hospitals and specialty care offices” and thus exacerbating the current health care workforce crisis. The governor indicated that she planned to revisit the issue in the upcoming legislative session. NYSSOS will continue to partner with MSSNY and other organizations to address the inadequacies and inequities of current claims review processes and broader insurance and prior authorization reform.