Albany update: health care reform creates opportunities, challenges

Albany update: health care reform creates opportunities, challenges

July 12, 2016

Jim Clancy, Carolyn Kerr and Neil Benjamin from the government relations firm Brown & Weinraub at FLHSA's annual Albany update July 12.

Download Brown & Weinraub’s slide presentation for clinicians here and for community based organization here.

The quickened pace of change in health care is not expected to let up anytime soon, Albany consultants told clinicians and leaders from community based organizations on July 12. The state continues to roll out a plethora of initiatives aimed at improving the delivery and accessibility of care, providing opportunities for providers and patients, but also creating a challenging clinical environment.

Speaking during the annual Albany update hosted by Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency, the team from Brown & Weinraub discussed the progress the State has made to transform New York’s health care delivery system, along with challenges inherent to transitioning from an institutional system to one that is more community-based.

Drawing on decades of experience in the legislature, the Governor’s executive chamber, and the state Department of Health, the team shared insights on everything from personnel changes to programmatic progress. Highlights include:

  • Funding for the past year remained generally flat, a considerable improvement from the huge deficits that the Cuomo administration faced early on.
  • The phase in of a $15 minimum wage ($12.50 upstate) is affecting health care providers as they struggle to keep employees and to pay for increased labor expense. The state is looking into how to offset those additional costs.
  • Future health care workforce needs are a new state focus, with state’s Department of Health convening a workgroup around this issue, co-chaired by FLHSA’s chief strategy officer Wade Norwood.
  • Our region’s Medicaid reform entity, the Finger Lakes Performing Provider System, has a great reputation in Albany. As part of Medicaid reform, 80 to 90 percent of state Medicaid payments will be shifting from fee for service to value based payments.
  • At the same time, the federal government is also shifting 85 percent of Medicare payment away from volume to value based payments. One difficulty these changes present is that the benchmarks for payment are different for each program, creating confusion and burdensome reporting for medical practices.