Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed a bill into law that allows Article 28 diagnostic and treatment centers (D&TC) and outpatient clinics of general hospitals (clinics) to provide off-site services to patients in certain circumstances.
The law amends Public Health Law §2803 to allow house calls when a patient who is in need of services is unable to travel on-site as a result of a temporary or ongoing medical condition. Specifically, the law authorizes a D&TC or clinic to provide primary care services off-site, provided the following criteria are met:
- The primary care services would ordinarily have been provided to patients on-site at a D&TC or clinic;
- The primary care services are not home care services;
- A pre-existing clinical relationship exists between the patient receiving services and the primarily care professional or DT&C/clinic providing off-site services; and
- The patient receiving services is unable to leave his or her residence to receive services at the D&TC or clinic without unreasonable difficulty as a result of circumstances, including but not limited to, clinical impairment.
This law, which takes effect March 28, 2017, will facilitate patient access to primary care services in a residence, nursing home, or other long-term care facility. It will promote continuity of care by requiring a pre-existing clinical relationship to exist between the patient and the primarily care physician or D&TC. It is also expected to curb emergency and/or hospital visits by patients in need of primary care services who would otherwise have been unable to access these services except by ambulance or other emergency transportation.