Call Your Legislators Today

Urge them to Enact the Mental Health/Substance Use Disorder Parity Act (A3694C/S1156C) 

With only a handful of days left in the Legislative Session, it is imperative you call or email your legislators and Senate and Assembly leadership TODAY June 14,2018 to express strong support for legislation (S.1156-C/A.3694-C), requiring the Department of Financial Services to collect key data from insurers and health plans to help determine compliance with the federal and state mental health and substance use (MH/SUD) disorder parity laws. This information would be included in the annual “Consumer Guide to Health Insurers” issued by DFS.

Why is this legislation so important and needed NOW?

  • The current enforcement & compliance system is complaint driven — putting the onus on consumers!
  • Non-compliance persists, resulting in delays and/or denials of life-saving mental health and SUD care.

o   Recent CDC data shows a 28.8% increase in suicide in New York State between 1999 to 2016. Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death with the
number of suicides (nationally) surpassing the number of deaths by automobile accidents, homicides and most recently breast cancer. According to a
recent OMH report and plan on suicide prevention, “1,700 New Yorkers died by suicide in 2014. Only four states in the country had a higher number.”

o   Nearly 3,600 opioid deaths in 2016 (a 135% increase between 2013- 2016).

  • Compliance with the parity laws is critical to assuring access to care and treatment.

ACTION NEEDED

To ensure the passage of this important legislation, please call or write to:

  • Your Senator AND Assemblymember – Call the main Senate and Assembly switchboards and asked to be connected to your local legislator: 
    NYS Senate:     (518) 455-2800
    NYS Assembly:  (518) 455-4100

To find out who your Assemblymember is, enter your address at: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/search/.

To find out who your Senator is, enter your address at: https://www.nysenate.gov/find-my-senator.

  • Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan – Albany Office: (518) 455-2071
  • Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewarts-Cousins – Albany Office: (518) 455-2585
  • Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie – Albany Office: (518) 455-4800
  • Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb – Albany Office: (518) 455-3751

To send an email, visit the Senator or Assemblymember’s official Senate or Assembly web page.

Sample Script/Message 

Hi, my name is ___________________. I am a constituent and/or treat constituents of Senator or Assemblymember _____________ ‘s district. I am calling today to: (1) identify myself as a constituent and/or [psychiatrist; psychologist; social worker; family advocate; peer] who strongly supports legislation (S.1156-C/A.3694-C) requiring insurers and health plans to annually to disclose information and data necessary to evaluate their compliance with Federal and State mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) parity laws. Although MH/SUD parity laws have been on the books for a decade on the federal level and more than twelve years in New York State, there still exists within the health insurance and health plan industry patterns of disparity between coverage criteria imposed on MH/SUD care and treatment as compared to other covered services. Hence, this legislation is an important mechanism for moving forward with full implementation with the parity laws, a critical component to assuring continued access to care. Please support this bill and urge it be brought the floor for a vote before the end of the session!

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