Late last week, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried introduced a bill in the New York Assembly to repeal the LHCSA RFO. The bill would repeal those portions of the New York Public Health Law that require authorization for a LHCSA to enroll and continue providing home care services that are paid for by Medicaid (including MLTC Medicaid). Assemblymember Gottfried’s bill explains that the bill was introduced because the LHCSA RFO would have “allow[ed] the Department of Health to arbitrarily limit the number of LHCSAs that may participate in Medicaid,” and that “[t]his arbitrary and extraneous contract limitation is bad health policy and morally objectionable.”

Just today, Senator Rachel May introduced a companion bill in the Senate that would repeal Section 3605-c of the Public Health Law, which is the provision of the law that establishes the LHCSA RFO.

It is not yet clear if these bills will become law, or whether they are merely symbolic gestures by two members of New York’s Legislature that have, traditionally, shown strong support for the home care industry with, albeit, limited success. Readers will recall that Assemblymember Gottfried had recently proposed the CDPAP RFO, round two, and his proposal was not successful. Similarly, readers will recall that Senator May was the proponent of raising the home care workers’ wages to more than $35,000 and that bill did not pass in the Legislature either.

It is expected that the two bills proposing the repeal of the LHCSA RFO will face significant pushback and opposition from SEIU 1199, which is vehemently fighting to consolidate the home care industry through the RFO. In a smaller industry, the union sees potential for easier unionization of home care workers. Thus, with such strong (expected) opposition to the repeal of the LHCSA RFO, it is not certain that these measures will become law. However, even if not ultimately successful, these bills will at least signal to the Department of Health that the Legislature is closely watching the Department’s moves with respect to licensed home care agencies.

We will report more on these bills as more information becomes available.