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From the desk of Senator Kemp Hannon: January 18, 2013

“The 2011-12 Legislative Session was most productive,” said Senator Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau). “Our state faced an extreme financial situation, including a $10 billion budget gap at the beginning of 2011, requiring significant programmatic changes to the state’s health budget.”

Senator Hannon, who is the chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Health, notes an active session for the committee, which began with the confirmation of the state’s health commissioner, the consideration of important issues through public hearings and roundtable discussions and the adoption of important legislation, which has become law under Hannon’s chairmanship.  The senator also was selected by Governor Cuomo to serve on the Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT), which has made significant progress in reducing and controlling health care spending.

“Many public hearings and roundtable discussions on a variety of significant health related issues, including prescription drug abuse, the establishment of a health insurance exchange in the State, telemedicine and telehealth, and other important issues were taken up by the health committee,” said Hannon.

Among the bills which came before the Senate Health Committee was the “Concussion Management and Awareness Act of 2011” (which became law in 2012).  It requires coaches to remove any student athlete from play who is suspected of having sustained a concussion for a minimum of 24 hours, and mandates a physician’s authorization in order to return to the field of play.

Landmark legislation enacting the state’s “I-STOP” (Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing) Act includes a series of provisions to overhaul the way prescription drugs are distributed and tracked in New York State.  These changes include enacting a “real time” prescription monitoring registry for controlled substances to provide timely and enhanced information to practitioners and pharmacists. I-STOP also includes other measures to protect the health and safety of patients and will be a national model for smart, coordinated communication between health care providers and law enforcement to better serve patients, stop prescription drug trafficking and abuse, and provide treatment to those who need help.

“My report includes summaries of all health bills enacted into law in 2011 and 2012, descriptions of public hearings and roundtables conducted by the committee, and a brief synopsis of the health budget, plus the work of the MRT,” said Hannon.

A copy of the report will be available online and also through Senator Hannon’s office.