State Lawmakers Pass Patient Protection Legislation

DC 37 members scored a major victory earlier this week when the State legislature passed legislation that protects patients from excessive hospital emergency room charges. Passage comes after intense lobbying by a coalition of patient advocates, consumer health and business organizations, and unions, including DC 37.

  • The legislation would strengthen our state’s current Surprise Hospital Bills Law and shield patients from price gouging by hospitals, an issue that threatens to bankrupt working families.

When emergencies have caused city employees – and DC 37 members – to go to hospitals out of their network, insurance companies eventually pass on the cost of care to patients – either in higher rates or reduced benefits. This legislation helps establish a process to negotiate fair payments for excessive emergency care charges.

In a letter to lawmakers signed by leaders of the state’s four largest public sector unions, including DC 37’s Henry Garrido, lawmakers were reminded that failure to pass the legislation could “hurt our members’ ability to fight for strong contracts. Every time union members go to the table to bargain a new contract, rising health care costs force them to bargain more money just to maintain their health care benefits, leaving less for wage increases or other improvements in benefits. These wages and benefits allow us to maintain strong, middle-class jobs for the New Yorkers who keep our state’s economy moving.”

“We thank Speaker Carl Heastie and Majority Leader Andrew Stewart-Cousins for listening to our concerns and helping to create a deterrent to exorbitant hospital costs for emergency care,” said Garrido. “We have to do all we can to contain skyrocketing medical costs, and we look forward to Governor Cuomo signing the legislation into law.”

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