Relates to special provisions for not-for-profit sales.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general business law, in relation to special provisions of the not-for-profit sales
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill would repeal a portion of section eight hundred two of the general business law to permit the for-profit sale of hearing aids by physicians.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: This bill would amend the general business law by a portion of section eight hundred two of the general business law to permit the for-profit sale of hearing aids by physicians.
Section 1 of the bill repeals a portion of section eight hundred two of the general business law to permit the for-profit sale of hearing aids by physicians.
Section 2 of the bill provides that the bill shall take effect immediately.
JUSTIFICATION: Currently, physicians are prohibited by section eight hundred two of the general business law to sell hearing aids for a profit. This prohibition, however, dates back to the mid-seventies, a time in which even hearing aid dealers were prohibited by law from selling hearing aids without a referral from a physician. Since that time, the law has changed as has the practice of medicine and otolaryngology. New York State is the only state that prohibits the sale of hearing aids by physicians for-profit, which effectively eliminates the sale of any hearing aids by physicians. By enabling consumers to purchase hearing aids from physicians, access to such devices and care coordination would be enhanced.
Moreover, it is an unfair restraint of trade to prohibit a profession to operate at a profit. The practice of fitting and dispensing of hearing aids has long been a recognized part of the scope of practice of otolaryngology. The American Academy of Otolaryngology position statement reads: "The American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Inc. states: dispensing of hearing aids, hearing assisted devices and other hearing rehabilitation devices is within the scope of practice for otolaryngologists head and neck surgeons. "Physician practices are small business, and cannot effectively run their businesses by offering services without earning a profit.
Lifting the prohibition on earning a profit would be in the best interest of patients as it would improve access to hearing aids and the duality of care delivered by enabling all appropriately trained and qualified healthcare providers to offer hearing aid services to patients.
Patients are also likely to enjoy more competitive pricing among all hearing aid dispensers through the application of market forces for an item which is often not covered by insurance.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009-10: S.5257 - Referred to Consumer Protection
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3354 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 1, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. HASSELL-THOMPSON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Consumer Protection AN ACT to amend the general business law, in relation to special provisions of the not-for-profit sales THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 802 of the general business law, as added by chap- ter 599 of the laws of 1998, subdivision 1 as designated and subdivision 2 as added by chapter 301 of the laws of 2000, is amended to read as follows: S 802. Special provisions
[; not-for-profit sales]. 1. [No otolaryn- gologist or other licensed physician who has conducted a medical evalu- ation of hearing loss shall engage in the business of dispensing hearing aids for a profit.]No otolaryngologist or other licensed physician who has dispensed a hearing aid shall refuse or fail to perform repairs or service on any hearing aid that they have dispensed. 2. Every licensed physician who engages in the dispensing of hearing aids in compliance with the provisions of this section shall be required to comply with sections seven hundred ninety-one, seven hundred ninety- eight and eight hundred three of this article, in addition to compliance with this section. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD06413-01-3