The hearing was hosted by Senator David Carlucci, the Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities.  NYSPA was represented at the hearing by Glenn Martin, M.D., NYSPA President, and Seth P. Stein, Esq., NYSPA Executive Director and General Counsel.

Since the enactment of the SAFE Act, NYSPA has strongly supported improvements to the statute that would provide additional protections for patient confidentiality and reduce potential stigma against persons with mental illness.  NYSPA has drafted proposed amendments to the reporting requirement that would require that a report be made only if the threat posed is both serious and imminent and would also authorize reports to potential victims and local law enforcement.  NYSPA's proposals have been incorporated in A6233-A, a bill introduced earlier this session by Assemblyman Gary Pretlow (D-Mount Vernon). 

NYSPA is also concerned that the new reporting requirement conflicts with HIPAA and has filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that is charged with investigating possible HIPAA violations.  As pointed out in the complaint, permitting the SAFE Act mental health reporting requirement to stand as written would placeNew Yorkproviders in a situation where compliance with the state statute might constitute a violation of the federal statute.   

Additional information:

Safe Act Testimony

Senator Carlucci's Press Release