On December 22nd, Governor Cuomo signed into law the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Reporting Act. (A.3694). This law, ironically signed on the 12th anniversary of the signing of Timothy’s Law, will create a more robust reporting mechanism for health plans and behavioral health management companies to the Department of Financial Services in regard to behavioral health parity.

The plans will submit key data and information to DFS to insure compliance with State and Federal Parity Laws. DFS will post this information on their public website.

As we know over the years, there have been concerns voiced about the implementation of parity laws. Many of these issues have come about because of the difficulty in measuring Non Qualitative Treatment Limits (NQTL) such as medical necessity, prior authorization, provider networks and step therapy. The creation of the ombuds position and this new legislation will help shine the light on these issues and continue to make New York a leader in supporting parity.

We thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership in signing this law and supporting measure to strengthen parity in New York State. We also want to acknowledge the leadership of our friends in the legislature,—Assemblymember Gunther and Senator Ortt for sponsoring this bill and working hard to get it passed in their respective houses.

Our campaign was led by many of our former Timothy’s Law team including Richard Gallo and Jamie Papapetros from Gallo Associates and Karen Carreau from Elk Street Group. They deserve a great deal of credit for their leadership. Also, the rest of us from the former Timothy’s Law team as well as new members were all engaged in support for this law through our grassroots across the State. Passage of the law was not easy but it again proves my adage that when the Behavioral Health Advocates speak with one voice, we are an incredibly powerful movement.

As I referenced, this bill was signed on the same day as the original Timothy’s Law was signed. It is a reminder of the spirit of Timothy and the leadership of his father Tom O’Clair and former Assemblymember and now Congressman Paul Tonko. May the memory of Timothy continue to shine the light on the importance of fair and comprehensive treatment and support for those with mental health and addictions disorders.

–Glenn–