ALBANY – The State Senate on Wednesday approved five bills Senator Pete Harckham (D, Mt. Kisco) introduced to remove barriers to treatment for substance use disorder (SUD), improve access to lifesaving programs and ensure best practices in the delivery of recovery services. The bills were part of a “Combat the Opioid Crisis and Improve Treatment Programs” package of legislation, all of which were approved first in the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, which Harckham chairs.
“Over the past two-plus years New York residents have been facing an epidemic of opioid overdoses within a pandemic, an alarming crisis that warranted an all-out effort to save lives,” said Harckham. “The legislation I have introduced reflects the many ways we can improve and widen treatment programs and services for those who need them. With the resources that are available statewide, New York should lead the way in safeguarding those with substance use disorder and co-occurring behavioral health issues.”
One of Harckham’s bills that the Senate just passed will help New Yorkers in need gain access to potentially lifesaving services. The bill eliminates daily co-pays for visits to opioid treatment programs.
The senator noted that often residents in such programs need to continue treatment past the 90-day window of private insurance plans, and faced with prohibitive co-pay costs end up dropping out of their programs.
Another bill will establish protections to SUD treatment providers from certain Office of Medicaid Inspector General audits, some of which have caused providers to go out of business, leaving patients without lifesaving programs. Both bills have been passed in the Assembly.