Requires all general hospitals, which provide emergency services, to post patient rights and provides that hospital personnel, prior to providing treatment, shall not inquire as to a patient's immigration status.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public health law, in relation to patient rights
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this bill is to ensure that immediate hospitalization is given to any person in need, regardless of legal status, as well as to inform patients of their rights in such circumstances.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: The public health law is amended by adding a new section 2801-h that mandates the posting of patients' rights in cases of immediate hospitalization. A sign, no less than eight and one-half inches by fourteen inches must be posted conspicuously stating that "each patient shall have the right to emergency treatment regardless of age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, source of payment, or immigration status. No patient shall be required to answer questions prior to providing treatment concerning their insurance or method of payment."
Subdivision 1 of section 2805-b of the public health law is amended so that all general hospitals which provide emergency services may not inquire as to the patient's immigration status prior to providing treatment. Nor shall the patient be required to answer questions relating to his or her immigration status after treatment is provided.
JUSTIFICATION: Many people who are in dire need of immediate hospitalization do not seek the proper medical attention due to uncertainty or a fear of being reported to the INS, if they are undocumented. Undocumented people who do go to emergency rooms in search of treatment are often frightened by questions from hospital personnel before admittance. By prohibiting staff from denying treatment due to legal status, or inquiring into the legal status of a patient before providing treatment, more undocumented people will seek the medical attention they require in emergency situations.
All patients need to be reassured as to the admittance process as well. Reassurance would be promoted by signs stating that immediate hospitalization must be granted regardless of age, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, source of payment, or legal status, as well as, a patient's right to treatment prior to answering questions regarding their insurance or method of payment.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2002 - A.10697 - Referred to Health. 2004 - A.3849-B Advanced to Third Reading Cal. 39 2005/06 - A.5504A - Passed Assembly 2007/08 - A.5930 - Referred to Health 2009/10 - A6478-A - Advanced to Third Reading
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: Minimal.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3878 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 8, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. ESPAILLAT -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Health AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to patient rights THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The public health law is amended by adding a new section 2801-h to read as follows: S 2801-H. PATIENT RIGHTS TO BE POSTED. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL REQUIRE ALL GENERAL HOSPITALS, WHICH PROVIDE EMERGENCY SERVICES, TO CONSPICUOUS- LY POST IN A PROMINENT AND VISIBLE AREA A SIGN WHICH SHALL BE NO SMALLER THAN EIGHT AND ONE-HALF INCHES BY FOURTEEN INCHES AND WHICH SHALL CONTAIN THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE: "PATIENTS' RIGHTS IN CASE OF IMMEDIATE HOSPITALIZATION EACH PATIENT SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO EMERGENCY TREATMENT REGARDLESS OF AGE, RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, SEX, NATIONAL ORIGIN, DISABILITY, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, SOURCE OF PAYMENT, OR LEGAL STATUS. NO PATIENT SHALL BE REQUIRED TO ANSWER QUESTIONS PRIOR TO PROVIDING TREATMENT CONCERNING THEIR INSURANCE OR METHOD OF PAYMENT." S 2. Subdivision 1 of section 2805-b of the public health law, as amended by chapter 121 of the laws of 1987, is amended to read as follows: 1. Every general hospital shall admit any person who is in need of immediate hospitalization with all convenient speed and shall not before admission question the patient or any member of his or her family concerning insurance, credit or payment of charges, OR THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PATIENT, provided
[, however,]that the patient or a member of his or her family shall agree to supply such information promptly after the patient's admission WITH THE EXCEPTION THAT THE PATIENT SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED TO ANSWER QUESTIONS RELATING TO HIS OR HER IMMIGRATION STATUS. However, no general hospital shall require any patient or member of his or her family to write or to sign during those times whenEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD03706-01-1 S. 3878 2
the religious tenets of such person temporarily prohibit him or her from performing such acts. No general hospital shall transfer any patient to another hospital or health care facility on the grounds that the patient is unable to pay or guarantee payment for services rendered. Every general hospital which maintains facilities for providing out-patient emergency medical care must provide such care to any person who, in the opinion of a physician, requires such care. S 3. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.