ALBANY – Senator Michelle Hinchey and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic today announced that their bill to identify healthcare deserts through the Hospital Transparency Act, S1003A/A733A, is on its way to the Governor’s desk following its recent passage in both the State Senate and Assembly.
If signed into law, the Hospital Transparency Act would require the State Department of Health (DOH) to collect and annually publish a list of policy-based exclusions from every New York general hospital on its website and require hospitals to disclose these exclusions as part of its Patients’ Bill of Rights. The bill would also require the DOH to publicly report on the impact of service denials, focusing on variations in access based on community, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Policy-based exclusions are healthcare services that hospitals are licensed to deliver but choose not to provide. In recent years, policy-based exclusions have primarily removed reproductive, gender-affirming, and end-of-life care, leaving New Yorkers without access to these important services.
The Hospital Transparency Act aims to pinpoint healthcare deserts in the state and lay the groundwork for improving access to care by informing future legislation and funding support targeted to close disparities. The bill would also give people the tools to determine if local healthcare facilities offer the care they need prior to admission, empowering people to make informed and potentially life-saving decisions about where to obtain care.
Senator Michelle Hinchey said, “Across New York State, healthcare services are vanishing from communities due to hospital policies, presenting an especially substantial challenge for people in medically underserved rural areas who often find themselves without access to lifesaving care and nowhere else to turn. At a time when New Yorkers desperately need more, not less, healthcare services, the Hospital Transparency Act will finally reveal the healthcare deserts formed by these service removals so we can take action to close these dangerous gaps. I thank Assemblymember Rozic for her partnership, and we look forward to the Governor swiftly signing our bill into law.”
Assemblywoman Nily Rozic said, “This legislation is a huge step towards greater health equity for all New Yorkers. By giving people the right to access essential information about the medical services offered by their local hospitals, we empower them to make informed decisions about their needs and expose healthcare deserts in our state. I’m grateful for the partnership of State Senator Hinchey in advancing transparency in our healthcare system and look forward to Governor Hochul’s future signing of the bill.”
“We applaud Senator Hinchey and Assemblymember Rozic, along with their cosponsors, on the passage of the Hospital Transparency Act. We have seen a concerning increase in policy-based exclusions by hospitals across New York, rendering health care deserts that leave patients without health information, access, or options,” said Robin Chappelle Golston, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts. “New Yorkers deserve access to the full range of medical care, and this important legislation will mean that the State Department of Health can better measure gaps in care, understand where communities are vulnerable, and allow for greater transparency in care for patients. This is a critical step forward in addressing growing and unacceptable health disparities in New York – especially for reproductive health care, gender-affirming health care, emergency health care, and more.”
“In New York, patients have no idea which hospitals will give them the care they need or which will turn them away for seeking abortion, contraception, miscarriage management, gender-affirming care, end of life care, and more. These policies — which are based on hospitals’ own bureaucratic policies rather than medical science — are often shrouded in secrecy and create health care deserts that can leave New Yorkers with nowhere to turn,” said Allie Bohm, Senior Policy Counsel at NYCLU. “With abortion access and gender-affirming care under attack nationwide, our lawmakers are taking action to empower patients with the information they need, identify health care deserts, and close the health care gap — Governor Hochul must do the same.”