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  • January 25, 2023 12:31 PM | Anonymous

    The bill as it stands has serious problems -- but addressing them shouldn't be complicated.

    Benjamin C. Zipursky
    Jan. 22, 2023

    Gov. Kathy Hochul apparently remains in a state of indecision about whether to sign the Grieving Families Act, a major overhaul of New York’s wrongful-death statute. The bill was first passed in June of 2022, but the governor was not able to decide by the year’s end, so she persuaded the state Senate to give her until January 30 to deliberate.

    The governor is right to be ambivalent. New York’s law is badly in need of liberalization; it is perhaps the most regressive in the nation, and the Senate and Assembly were almost unanimous in passing this bill. Nonetheless, the insurance, medical, and business communities protesting its risks to New Yorkers are not crying wolf: The bill as it stands has deep flaws, and there is no reason to trust – as legislators sometimes propose – that the courts will be able to deal with the problems.

    Read the full article here

  • January 19, 2023 4:37 PM | Anonymous

    Hochul should veto liability legislation
    Neal Sullivan, Mahopac

    In the face of stubbornly high costs, Gov. Kathy Hochul's veto is a powerful tool for fiscal responsibility.

    The governor has already rejected legislation that would increase costs to consumers and the state. She should do the same with another bill headed to her desk that would make insurance dramatically more expensive.

    The bill, known as S74A, would radically expand the size of awards in wrongful death litigation, as well as who can file such lawsuits. This will be a body blow to budgets for the state and local governments, which are often targeted in wrongful death claims.

    But the damage doesn't stop there. Insurers will be forced to raise costs to cover inflated payouts. As a result, businesses will have to raise prices. Healthcare providers will have fewer resources available to care for patients. Meanwhile, governments will need to choose between cutting vital services and raising taxes.

    Ordinary New Yorkers will pay the price.

    Higher insurance costs will directly hit household budgets across New York.

    According to an actuarial analysis by Milliman Inc., an 11.1 percent increase in annual premiums across the board is expected for residents and businesses. Given that about a third of American adults cannot cover a $400 emergency expense with cash alone, such an increase is a recipe for disaster.

    With government and family budgets alike under strain, S74A will be catastrophic. Hochul must veto this bill.

    The writer is past chairman of the Putnam County Legislature

    Read additional opinions here

  • January 17, 2023 11:11 AM | Anonymous

    A state Supreme Court judge ruled on Friday that the Governor and the New York State Department of Health overstepped their authority when mandating COVID-19 vaccines for healthcare workers.

    See the update here

  • January 11, 2023 11:12 AM | Anonymous

    On Dec. 30, 2022, Gov. Hochul signed a bill (A.286/S.1997) that amends New York Labor Law § 167. Originally enacted in 2009, Section 167 restricts “healthcare employers” from requiring nurses to work beyond their regularly scheduled hours, with four limited exceptions, where the overtime is during or due to:

    1. A health care disaster that increases the need for healthcare personnel;
    2. A federal, state or county declaration of emergency;
    3. An unforeseen emergency, and necessary to provide safe patient care that could not be prudently planned for by the employer and does not regularly occur; or
    4. An ongoing medical or surgical procedure in which the nurse is actively engaged and whose continued presence is needed to ensure the health and safety of the patient.

    Read the full article here 

  • January 11, 2023 11:10 AM | Anonymous

    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.”

    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.

  • January 10, 2023 3:58 PM | Anonymous

    ALBANY — Pitting physicians against trial lawyers, a major lobbying battle is intensifying behind the scenes concerning a proposed revision to a wrongful death statute that has been on the books for 175 years.

    The doctors want Gov. Kathy Hochul to veto the legislation — the Grieving Families Act — now sitting on her desk. The lawyers are urging her to sign the measure after it was overwhelmingly approved this year by both chambers of the Legislature.

    Hochul could also insist on amendments to the bill. But exactly what she will do remains a matter of speculation.

    The umbrella group for county governments — the New York State Association of Counties — is asking Hochul to veto the measure.

    The counties have advised the governor’s office they are concerned that the legislation could lead to county taxpayers being used as a “piggy bank” to make whole individuals who are primarily to blame in wrongful death cases.

  • January 09, 2023 12:05 PM | Anonymous

    Over seven thousand nurses at two of New York City’s largest private hospitals, Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx and Mount Sinai Hospital on Manhattan’s East Side, began a strike Monday morning after the expiration of their contracts on December 31.

    The walkout, the latest in a wave of strikes to hit the healthcare industry, comes nearly three years after the onset of the pandemic exposed and exacerbated the crisis at hospitals in New York and beyond. The strike is a reflection of the determination by nurses to take a stand for hospital conditions that prioritize worker and patient well-being over industry profits.

  • January 05, 2023 2:02 PM | Anonymous

    In 2022, New York state and New York City continued to enact critical labor and employment laws that directly affect businesses of all shapes and sizes. Employers should familiarize themselves with these new laws and update their policies to stay compliant.

    Read more here

  • December 14, 2022 11:29 AM | Anonymous

    The New York Department of Health has circulated a revised advisory on return-to-work protocols for healthcare personnel after infection or exposure to COVID-19. The new protocols, dated Nov. 30, will supersede the department's earlier protocols, dated Feb. 4, and align New York with the current recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    The department's advisory, which has been circulated to providers, but not yet posted to the department's COVID-19 Guidance Repository, includes protocols for returning to work, largely dependent on whether the healthcare facility is operating under conventional, contingency or crisis strategies to mitigate staffing shortages.

    Read the full article here
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  • December 13, 2022 11:11 AM | Anonymous

    New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law an amendment to the NY State Labor Law that will expand workplace protections for nursing employees, effective May 31, 2023. The new law builds upon already-existing requirements under the Labor Law to provide reasonable unpaid break time (or permit employees to use paid break time) to express milk in the workplace for up to three years following the birth of a child, and to “make reasonable efforts” to provide a room or other location, other than a restroom, to express milk in private.

    Under the amended law, employers are required to provide break time to nursing employees “each time such employee has reasonable need to express breast milk” for up to three years following the birth of a child. In addition, upon request, employers are required to designate a room or other location (other than a restroom or toilet stall) which can be used by nursing employees to express breast milk. Such room or other location must be a place that is: (i) in close proximity to the employee’s work area; (ii) well lit; (iii) shielded from view; and (iv) free from intrusion from other persons in the workplace or the public. The room or other location must also provide, at a minimum, a chair, working surface, nearby access to clean running water and, if the workplace is supplied with electricity, an electrical outlet. If the workplace has access to a refrigerator, employees must be permitted to access the refrigerator for the purposes of storing expressed milk.

    Employers will be required to provide notice to all employees as soon as practicable once a room or other location has been designated for use by employees to express breast milk. If the sole purpose or function of the room or other location is not dedicated for use by employees to express breast milk, it must be made available to such a nursing employee when needed and cannot be used for any other purpose or function while in use by a nursing employee.

    If compliance with these requirements would impose an undue hardship on an employer “by causing significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources, nature or structure of the employer’s business,” the employer is required to make “reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, other than a restroom or toilet stall, that is in close proximity to the work area where an employee can express breast milk in privacy.”

    The law requires employers to maintain a written policy regarding the rights of nursing employees, including specifying the means by which a request may be submitted to an employer for a lactation room, and requiring the employer to respond to such request within a reasonable timeframe, not to exceed five business days. Employers are required to provide the policy to all employees upon hire, annually thereafter, and to employees upon return to work following the birth of a child.

    See the full article here

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