Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in New York. It is also the second leading cause of cancer-related death in New York women. The best protection against breast cancer is early detection and diagnosis. To aid in early detection, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the New York Breast Law that went into effect Jan. 1, 2017. The legislation builds upon $91 million in investments outlined in the governor’s State of the State Address to increase awareness and screening for breast cancer, including a public awareness campaign, community outreach programs, patient navigators, and mobile mammography vans. It covers screening mammography, diagnostic mammography, breast ultrasound (screening or diagnostic, unilateral or bilateral) and breast MRI. The new law will not cover breast biopsies.
The new legislative agreement:
- Requires 210 hospitals and hospital extension clinics to offer extended hours of screening for at least four hours per week to help women who have difficulty scheduling mammograms during the typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday. These hours include 7-9 a.m. and 5-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday or Sunday;
- Eliminates annual deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance payments (“cost-sharing”) for all screening mammograms, including those provided to women more frequently than current federal screening guidelines such as annual mammograms for women in their 40s;
- Eliminates cost-sharing for diagnostic imaging for breast cancer, including diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasounds and breast MRIs for women at high risk for breast cancer. As a result, women in need of tests other than standard mammograms will not have to pay any additional out-of-pocket expenses for these most common diagnostic tests;
- Adds public employees of cities with a population of 1 million or more, to the population of public employees in New York state who are currently allowed four hours of leave for screening for breast cancer each year. Current state law requires all public employers to provide their employees with four hours of leave each year for breast cancer screening. Now public employees in New York City will receive the same benefit as all other public employees statewide.
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