Hospice And Palliative Care Bill Clears State Legislature

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms is pleased to report that the Office of Hospice and Palliative Care Bill (Bill S.4858-Hinchey/A.5587-Wallace) has once again passed both houses of the New York State Legislature.

This bill would establish an Office of Hospice and Palliative Care Access and Quality within the New York State Department of Health. Hospice and palliative care helps manage the symptoms of patients experiencing serious or terminal illnesses. The state of New York ranks last in the nation in hospice care utilization. The bill memorandum asserts that New York’s underutilization of hospice care “results in remarkably high hospitalization readmissions, creating additional burdens on New York State’s already overwhelmed hospital finances and resources.” The creation of a new office devoted exclusively to hospice and palliative care would improve access to these services, helping seriously ill New Yorkers and their families.

On May 24, 2023, the bill passed the New York State Assembly by a vote of 142-0. On June 5, the State Senate passed the legislation by a vote of 61-0. At some point between now and the end of this year, the bill will be forwarded to Gov. Kathy Hochul for her consideration.

Given the Legislature’s overwhelming support for the Office of Hospice and Palliative Care Bill, it would seem likely that the Governor would sign it into law. However, Gov. Hochul vetoed the bill last year on the grounds that it had budgetary implications and should, therefore, be included in the budget. The bill memorandum accompanying the Office of Hospice and Palliative Care Bill states that the fiscal implications of the bill are minimal, and it is hoped that the Governor will reconsider her position and sign the bill into law in 2023.