Committee on Legislation

A description of the committee and its mission –

The mission of the NYSPA Committee on Legislation is to review and provide advice and recommendation to the Area II Council and other NYSPA Committees, as deemed appropriate, on proposed legislation, regulations, and other State-initiated public policies that affect the practice of the profession and the well-being of the patients we serve. The committee works with NYSPA’s Government Relations Team in Albany (Karin Carreau-Spencer) and NYSPA’s Executive Director and staff to develop and advocate for the association’s legislative and regulatory priorities; and, assist in the mobilization of NYSPA members to advocate on issues and policies impacting the profession and patients.

The Committee works with the District Branches (DBs), including Legislative Representatives to provide updates and discuss progress on current NYSPA legislative and regulatory priorities and activities and future issues to be aware of. In addition, the Committee works with DBs in building contacts with their Senators and Assemblymembers including providing materials for meetings (agenda, talking points and handouts). This continues to be a strategic priority of the Committee so we can build a network of members (through DBs) who can follow up with their Senators and Assemblymembers as issues arise.

NYSPA works regularly with other stakeholders including medical specialty societies and mental heath consumer advocacy organizations on issues of common interest and concern to leverage support and achieve significant results. Priorities include strengthening compliance with and enforcement of mental health and substance use disorder parity laws and ensuring equitable reimbursement for telehealth when compared to an in-person visit.

Click here to view NYPSA's Legislative Priorities for 2023.

A description of recent NYSPA led accomplishments:

• Enactment of the Mental Health & Substance Use Disorder Parity Report Act (2018-19) – The law requires insurers, health plans, and behavioral health management companies to biannually submit key data and information to the Department of Financial Services for analysis and evaluation of compliance with the federal and state parity laws. The data is published on DFS’ website and has already been used to levy fines for non-compliance.

• Enactment of the 2019 Behavioral Health Insurance Parity Reforms

• Enactment of New York’s landmark telehealth reimbursement parity law in the FY 2022 New York State budget, requiring Medicaid and commercial insurers and health plans, which are regulated by the New York State Insurance Law, to reimburse practitioners delivering services through telehealth on the same basis and at the same rate as delivered in person. The language also requires that insurers maintain an adequate network of providers to meet the telehealth needs of the insured.

• Advocacy in support of Department of Financial Services issuing Circular Letter No. 1 of 2023, a directive to insurers and health plans to comply with the most recent version of CPT codes, reporting guidelines and conventions, specifically changes to office and outpatient E/M codes that took effect on January 1, 2021. This is an important tool for fighting against aggressive and inappropriate denial of claims!

• Funding from the Legislature for NYSPA’s Veterans Mental Health – Primary Care Training Initiative, which provides accredited training for primary care specialists, psychiatrists, and residents to recognize and treat combat and service-related mental health and substance use disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, suicide, and suicide prevention. See NYSPA's web page on the program.

• Vigorously opposing scope of practice expansions encroaching on practice of medicine including psychologists seeking authority to prescribe medications used in treatment of mental health disorders.

As important as these results are for our members and patients, the work continues and the challenges ahead are formidable. Your NYSPA dues have enabled these results and we encourage you to continue to support and recruit a fellow colleague who is not a member and to contribute to the NYSP-PAC!