Together, NYSSPS and ASPS closely monitored legislation regarding physician fee schedules, maintenance of certification, physician advertising, naturopathic scope of practice, single payer and more.
One of the Society’s top legislative priorities is to advance laws that impose stricter regulations on the information that can be displayed within physician advertisements. Specifically, ASPS calls for state legislatures to pass measures that require advertisements to include the full name of the certifying body and only permits ABMS or AOA boards to include the phrase “board certified.” ASPS and the New York State Society of Plastic Surgeons (NYSSPS) first started working on this issue in the spring of 2017 when NYSSPS advanced model language through the Medical Society of the State of New York’s House of Delegates. Following passage in the state’s House of Delegates, NYSSPS began speaking with other specialties to gain full support for the measure.
Unfortunately, NYSSPS hit a road block in 2018 when a medical specialty asked for amendments to the bill that would seriously weaken the protections in place. ASPS and NYSSPS coordinated stakeholder conference calls to discuss the value of the bill, as drafted, and the ramifications of the requested amendments to patient safety in New York. Meanwhile, NYSSPS physicians conducted a lobby day in Albany at the state capitol where they educated members of the legislature about the bill proposal. The Society met with several key legislators in an effort to secure sponsors in both the Assembly and the Senate. NY state Sen. Joseph Griffo expressed interest in championing the bill and modified his legislation. Unfortunately, due to the extensive revisions, a technical oversight occurred and needs to be revised before the Society can garner and show complete support. ASPS looks forward to working with NYSSPS to advance this measure in 2019.
In what has become a yearly legislative maneuver, the New York State Assembly passed legislation that would implement a single payer healthcare system. NYSSPS and ASPS engaged the legislature on four different occasions – submitting three letters in the Assembly and one to the Senate – in opposition to the bill. ASPS and NYSSPS oppose the creation of a single payer system and voiced concern over the impact of the proposed system to patient access to care and overall healthcare delivery. The societies also identified many shortcomings of the proposal within their comments to the legislature.
Passage of the bill in the lower house has become a symbolic move, as this is now the fourth year in a row that the Democratic-led chamber has approved the measure. The Republican-led Senate has quashed any further movement of the bill each time the Assembly has messaged it over to the upper house. However, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo has suggested possible support for a single payer system. We anticipate this legislation will be introduced and quickly advance again in 2019.
Physician Fee Schedules
Rep. Gottfried introduced legislation that prohibits health plans from setting reimbursement rates at the lowest price/rate that the provider has charged another patient for the same procedure. In a letter to the New York State Assembly, ASPS and NYSSPS supported this measure as it protects providers who practice in multiple geographic areas and who therefore experience disparities in fees for those respective regions. The bill will also protect providers who move their practice to regions with fee disparities and will appropriately promote the use of the most applicable fee for that patient population. While this bill passed the Assembly Health Committee, it failed upon adjournment of the legislature.
Maintenance of Certification
Asm. Schimminger and Sen. DeFrancisco introduced legislation that would allow the government, instead of medical experts, to make determinations about the use of maintenance of certification for credentialing by hospitals and insurance carriers. ASPS and NYSSPS believe the certification provided by the American Board of Plastic Surgery is the best validation of physician knowledge for the specialty, which is why the Society submitted a letter to the bill sponsors in opposition to these measures. We are pleased to report that these bills failed upon adjournment of the legislature.
Naturopathic Scope of Practice
Asm. Ortiz introduced legislation that would allow naturopaths to administer drugs and perform select surgical procedures. Surgeons train as much as four-times as long as naturopaths, which demonstrates the lack of educational and clinical experience of these holistic providers. In a letter to legislative leadership, NYSSPS and ASPS opposed this measure as it poses a threat to patient safety and lowers the standard of surgical care. We are pleased to report that this measure failed upon adjournment of the legislature.
ASPS extends special thanks to those members who attended the Advocacy Summit on June 26-28 in Washington, DC including: NYSSPS Board members Stephen Coccaro, MD, FACS, Ash Patel, MBChB, FACS, Andrew Kleinman, MD, and Keith Blechman, MD; NY LAC representatives George Kamel, MD, Malcolm Roth, MD, JT Stranix, MD and Paul Weiss, MD; as well as NY plastic surgeons Robert Goldstein, MD, Alan Matarasso, MD, Hina Patel, MD, MPH, Andrea Pusic, MD, MHS and Mark Smith, MD, FACS.
While in D.C., these New York plastic surgeons met with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY-07), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12), Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY-16), Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY-17), Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY-20) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY-01). We hope the Summit offered ASPS members with greater insight into the state and federal legislative issues facing the specialty.
Save the Date!
May 21, 2019
NYSSPS Annual Advocacy Day
Albany, New York