Some people look at Wednesday as merely the halfway point of the work week, the day when the soul-crushing despair of Monday morning slowly begins to give way to the Snoopy dance of Friday afternoon. Such people overlook the true significance of the fourth day of the week, the reason why some of us bounce out of bed that day filled to overflowing with anticipation and excitement.
Wednesday, you see, is the day that the New York State Department of State publishes the new issue of New York State Register, the official compendium of the state government’s regulatory activity.
I can hear some of the more cynical among you offering me some advice. However, if you want to be in the know about the latest proposed changes to sections 94.2(e)(6) and 1004.1(a)(2) of Title 10 of the New York Code of Rules and Regulations, you must grab the latest issue when it’s hot off the server on Wednesday mornings.
Now, not every issue contains something of immense importance to the insurance industry, but many of them do. As it so happens, the last two issues have included rule changes that insurance practitioners may find of interest.
Lost in the rush of turkey-basting last week, the Nov. 23 issue announced the Department of Financial Services’ final adoption of a rule creating a Safe Patient Handling Program Credit for certain Workers’ Compensation risks. I wrote about this credit in my Oct. 19 post. The notice in the Nov. 23 Register discussed and responded to the comments DFS received about the original proposed rule. The one major change: This credit will not be available until Oct. 1, 2017. The delay will enable the New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board time to gather and analyze data and submit manual rules to DFS for approval.
A few IIABNY members have contacted me about the credit because they insure health care risks. Their insureds were hoping to take the credit immediately, as they must have safe patient handling programs in place by Jan. 1, 2017. The final adoption of the regulation shows that this is not to be. If you insure eligible health care risks, contacting them to appropriately set their expectations might be a good idea.
Today’s issue contained two announcements from the Department of Health with regard to the state’s bouncing baby medical marijuana program. The first formally adopts a proposal, first published in September, which will permit nurse practitioners to register with the department and certify patients to use medical marijuana. The final adoption notice also summarized the comments DOH received; the majority supported the proposal. In fact, a large number suggested that the department go farther and authorize physician assistants to certify patients as well. The department declined to amend its proposal, which leads us to the second announcement.
The department has proposed an amendment that would authorize licensed physician assistants to also register with DOH and certify patients for medical marijuana use. The patients must be under the care of a supervising physician, and the PA must act in good faith and within his or her lawful scope of practice and to the extent assigned by the supervising physician. The public comment period opens today and will continue until Jan. 14, 2017. Those interested may submit comments to Katherine Ceroalo of the Regulatory Affairs Unit in the department’s Bureau of House Counsel.
The aim of both of these changes appears to be to increase the number of health care practitioners available to certify patients. According to the department’s web site, 750 physicians were registered as of yesterday to serve a state with a population of 19.8 million.
Stay tuned to this blog for further updates as New York’s medical marijuana program and insurance regulation evolve. Or, you might want to start routinely checking the Register each Wednesday morning, like I do. Wednesday can be so much more than hump day.