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Powers and Duties of the Commissioner – N.Y. Pub. Health Law § 206

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The Commissioner’s powers and duties include:

  • Collecting and maintaining “information relating to marriage, birth, mortality, disease and health…” 
  • Conducting research on ways to reduce morbidity and mortality and improve the quality of care. The Commissioner may specify the means of collecting information for such research purposes. All research information collected by the Commissioner is confidential and is not admissible in court or any other type of action. Persons or entities that provide the Commissioner with information for such research purposes are immune from any resulting liability. 


The Commissioner may create Medicaid demonstration programs for the purpose of testing reimbursement methods, delivery methods, and eligibility for care in “hospice oriented nursing homes.” 


The Commissioner may award grants for demonstration projects that are designed to promote the adoption of electronic health records and the use of an electronic health information exchange.  Organizations that represent licensed New York physicians may obtain such grants by submitting a proposing a project that is designed to (1) incentivize EHR adoption; (2) connect physicians “through regional collaborations;” (3) “promote personalized health care and consumer choice;” and (4) “enhance health care outcomes and health status generally through interoperable public health surveillance systems and streamlined quality monitoring.” The commissioner must submit reports to the governor, president of the senate, and speaker of the assembly within a year of funding these demonstration projects that concern the costs of the projects and the feasibility of expansion.  


The Commissioner must issue rules in order to disburse American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds and “to promote the development of a statewide health information network of New York (SHIN-NY)…” SHIN-NY must enable the interoperability of EHRs, personal health records, claims data, and public health information systems and must have mechanisms to ensure the privacy and security of the information. 


The Commissioner may use influenza vaccine supply data from the CDC, pneumococcal vaccine supply information from manufacturers, and data from third party organizations that track the sale and distribution of pharmaceuticals in order to submit the reports required by NY EDUC § 6801. The Commissioner must keep “provider and customer identifiable information” confidential unless the Commissioner needs to disclose the information to address an “imminent public health emergency” or the “information provider consents to its release.” 


The Commissioner must review the HIV, AIDS, and Hepatitis C prevention policies used by correctional facilities to ensure that the policies are consistent with medical standards. The Commissioner’s agents may inspect correctional facility records, interview inmates, and “inspect a representative sample of medical records” of inmates infected with HIV or HCV or that have AIDs. The Commission must give the public, patients, and patient advocates notice of an impending review that invites these persons to provide relevant information. After completing the review, the Commissioner must either approve the policies or order the facility to create a “corrective plan” for remedying the deficiencies of their policies. The Commission must monitor compliance with corrective plans and must permit the public to inspect all written reports created in relation to these reviews. 

Current as of June 2015