Provides for the inclusion of weight control in the health care and wellness education and outreach program; includes weight management and physical fitness in wellness programs.
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the public health law, in relation to the inclusion of weight control in the health care and wellness education and outreach program; and to amend the insurance law, in relation to wellness programs
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
The purpose of this bill is to promote a more inter-disciplinary approach to help combat adult and childhood obesity. The incidence of childhood obesity is a rapidly growing public health, social, and economic concern that is adversely affecting the overall health and wellbeing of our next generation of New Yorkers. In fact, the number of acute and chronic adverse health conditions such as diabetes, chronic coronary conditions, and respiratory illnesses caused by obesity conditions is about to overtake the number of acute and chronic adverse health conditions caused by smoking tobacco. This bill attempts to better integrate current programs and laws that relate to combating childhood obesity.
Further, the Department of Financial Services will be authorized to allow health insurers and their insureds to more actively participate in and expand the number Wellness Programs that combat the high incidence of adult and childhood obesity. Such programs would be implemented at the option of such health insurers.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1: Amends public Health Law section 207 which relates to the Health Care and Wellness Education and Outreach Program. This provision expands the ability of DOH to conduct wellness education and outreach programs to elementary and secondary school educators. Further, such education and outreach programs can provide information about the adverse health risks to adults and children who become obese or underweight.
Section 2: Amends Public Health Law section 207 to provide that the Department's education and outreach programs may also talk about the short term and long term adverse health risks to adults and children who become overweight, obese or underweight.
Sections 3 and 4: Amends Insurance Law section 3239 that relates to Wellness Programs that can be sponsored by health insurers or HMOs to help promote the health and wellbeing of their insureds or subscribers.
This provision expands the types of wellness programs that can sponsored by such carriers to include coordinated weight management, nutrition, stress management and physical fitness programs to combat the high incidence of adult and child obesity, asthma, and other chronic respiratory conditions. This section also, allows for the full or partial reimbursement of the cost of participating in stress management programs or activities or participating in a health or fitness program.
The growing prevalence of overweight and obese children and adults is a serious problem that is facing the entire nation. Obesity related health care expenditures in New York are some of the highest in the nation. Further, contrary to the lower (on average) prevalence of obesity among adults living in New York, children in New York are more likely to be obese or overweight when compared to national trends.
Obesity and overweight conditions in individuals are leading to higher incidences of life threatening conditions and substantial economic costs both to the State of New York for health care costs and to employers in lost work time and higher health care costs. Obesity in children tends to manifest itself more widely among poorer children and children whose parents have lower education levels.
The rising incidence of childhood obesity is a serious medical problem that continues to grow, especially among poorer and minority communities. Further, obesity is known to cause or exacerbate a number of serious chronic medical disorders including hypertension, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and respiratory dysfunction. Nearly 80% of patients with diabetes mellitus are obese, while nearly 70% of diagnosed cases of cardiovascular disease are related to obesity. Obesity ranks only second to smoking as a preventable cause of death. Unfortunately, preventable deaths caused by obesity conditions is rapidly approaching and will or already has surpassed those deaths caused by smoking tobacco.
While the high prevalence of obesity and overweight conditions is an important public health concern when it affects adults. It should be of heightened concern that this adult affliction is now becoming more common among children. When obesity conditions afflict children this poses, significant quality of life detriments to such persons, reduces the productivity of such individuals over a longer time of their life, and hastens the onset of many chronic conditions that can hurt the quality of life of such persons and their families.
It is important for state agencies such as the Departments of Health, Education, Agriculture & Markets, and Insurance, the Office of Children and Family Services coordinate their current activities to curb this problem. Further, once New York's state agencies have a more coordinated approach to curb childhood obesity, then other public stakeholders such as school educators and BOCES can combine
forces with such state agencies and with private stakeholders such as health care providers, health care facilities, child day care centers, insurers, and community groups to provide a coordinated way to address this problem.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
Related to S.6423 (Klein) that contains a more comprehensive expansion of obesity programs to combat obesity in adults and children.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7115--A IN SENATE April 30, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sen. KLEIN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Health -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to the inclusion of weight control in the health care and wellness education and outreach program; and to amend the insurance law, in relation to wellness programs THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The opening paragraph of subdivision 1, and subdivisions 3, 4 and 6 of section 207 of the public health law, as amended by section 16 of part A of chapter 109 of the laws of 2010, are amended to read as follows: There is hereby created within the department the health care and wellness education and outreach program. The department may conduct education and outreach programs for consumers, patients, ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL EDUCATORS, and health care providers relating to any health care matters the commissioner deems appropriate and: 3. The department may produce, make available to others for reprod- uction, or contract with others to develop such materials mentioned in this section as the commissioner deems appropriate. These materials shall be made available to the public AND TO ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL EDUCATORS free of charge as appropriate or for a fee under certain circumstances. The commissioner may require where appropriate any health care provider to make these materials available to patients. 4. In exercising any of his or her powers under this section, the commissioner may consult with appropriate health care professionals, providers, consumers, EDUCATORS and patients or organizations represent- ing them. 6. The commissioner may appoint as appropriate advisory councils relating to various matters that are or are proposed to be the subjects of programs under this section. All such councils shall include repre- sentation of health care professionals, providers, EDUCATORS, consumers,EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD13426-16-2 S. 7115--A 2
patients and other appropriate interests. The members of the councils shall receive no compensation for their services, but shall be allowed their actual and necessary expenses incurred in performance of their duties. S 2. Subdivision 1 of section 207 of the public health law is amended by adding a new paragraph (i) to read as follows: (I) ABOUT THE SHORT TERM AND LONG TERM ADVERSE HEALTH RISKS TO ADULTS AND CHILDREN WHO BECOME OVERWEIGHT, OBESE OR UNDERWEIGHT. THE INFORMA- TION SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NEED NOT BE LIMITED TO PROVIDING CITATIONS TO THE DEPARTMENT'S WEBSITE, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER WEBSITES PROVIDING INFOR- MATION ON THE SUBJECT. S 3. Paragraphs 6 and 7 of subsection (b) of section 3239 of the insurance law, as added by chapter 592 of the laws of 2008, are amended and a new paragraph 8 is added to read as follows: (6) a nutrition education program;
[and](7) health or fitness incentive programs [.]; AND (8) A COORDINATED WEIGHT MANAGEMENT, NUTRITION, STRESS MANAGEMENT AND PHYSICAL FITNESS PROGRAM TO COMBAT THE HIGH INCIDENCE OF ADULT AND CHILDHOOD OBESITY, ASTHMA AND OTHER CHRONIC RESPIRATORY CONDITIONS. S 4. Subparagraphs (C) and (D) of paragraph 2 of subsection (c) of section 3239 of the insurance law, as added by chapter 592 of the laws of 2008, are amended and two new subparagraphs (E) and (F) are added to read as follows: (C) the waiver or reduction of copayments, coinsurance and deductibles for preventive services covered under the group policy or subscriber contract; [and](D) monetary rewards in the form of gift cards or gift certificates, so long as the recipient of the reward is encouraged to use the reward for a product or a service that promotes good health, such as healthy cook books, over the counter vitamins or exercise equipment [.]; (E) FULL OR PARTIAL REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COST OF PARTICIPATING IN A STRESS MANAGEMENT PROGRAM OR ACTIVITY; AND (F) FULL OR PARTIAL REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COST OF PARTICIPATING IN A HEALTH OR FITNESS PROGRAM. S 5. This act shall take effect immediately, except that sections one and two of this act shall take effect one year after this act shall have become a law; provided that, effective immediately, any rules and regu- lations necessary to implement the provisions of this act on its effec- tive date are authorized and directed to be completed on or before such date.