HCA Disparities Bill Passes Senate, Wins Praise in Larger Package on Health Equity

Situation Report | February 8, 2021

An HCA-developed bill to address health care disparities through home care collaboration models has passed the Senate.

The bill (S.1374), sponsored by Senator James Sanders, Jr., was well-positioned in alignment with the Senate Majority’s overall emphasis on racial disparities in health care. It complemented several other measures that together passed the Senate as part of a broader package last week, garnering praise in a February 1 press announcement from the Senate Majority Leader’s office.

“This legislation will not only alleviate the discriminatory obstacles minority New Yorkers face today,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins about the overall package of bills, “but it will also benefit the health and livelihood of our entire state.”

A companion bill in the Assembly, sponsored by Assembly Member Crystal Peoples-Stokes (A.1155), is currently in the Assembly Health Committee.

S.1374/A.1155 would specifically include programs to address disparities under the state’s existing Hospital-Home Care-Physician Collaborative Program. That program — also developed by HCA and subsequently signed into law — authorizes models of collaboration among hospitals, home care agencies, and physicians to improve outcomes and reduce health care costs within the state.

Some estimates are that 30 percent of direct medical costs to minority populations are excess costs attributable to health inequities, at an estimated $309 billion per year.

As we note in a 2019 HCA report on Home Care: A Major Partner for Tackling Health Disparities, home care is uniquely positioned to address disparities in race, ethnicity, culture or language, sexual orientation or gender identity, geographic location, or other factors. Home care considers the entirety of a patient’s circumstances, including social determinants of health, in assessing, planning and delivering care. Many of the conditions most prone to disparities — such as diabetes or asthma — are among the top specialty areas of home care.

HCA will be further advocating with Assembly Member Peoples-Stokes’ office for the advancement of this bill in the Assembly.