Statewide Telephone Call-in Hearing to be Held on Governor's "Partnership for Coverage" Initiative

Patient Advocates, Physicians, Business, Insurance Industry Representatives Among Participants

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 5, 2007) – As part of the "Partnership for Coverage" public hearings on ways to expand health insurance coverage and improve the health care system in New York, a statewide telephone call-in session will be held at 3 p.m., Oct. 10.

Individuals interested in partaking in the session may call 888-316-9407. Callers will need to provide the participant pass code: DOH.

All individuals planning to call the phone hearing must pre-register with the New York State Department of Health or the New York State Department of Insurance. To pre-register, please contact:

Ms. Cindy Esterby
Office of Health Insurance Programs
New York State Department of Health
Corning Tower Bldg., Room 1483
Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York 12237
(518) 474-5737
Ms. Deborah Greer
New York State Insurance Department
One Commerce Plaza
Albany, NY 12257
(518) 474-4567

Governor Eliot Spitzer directed that the call-in session and hearings be conducted by the state Health and Insurance departments in connection with the Governor's "Partnership for Coverage" initiative. The call-in and hearings will seek public input to develop proposals for achieving health system reform and affordable universal coverage in New York State.

During the session the general public, patient advocacy agencies, health care providers, insurance industry representatives, business and labor groups will share their input and proposals with New York State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., and Insurance Superintendent Eric R. Dinallo.

"This unique call-in session will go a long way toward our 'building blocks' approach to finding ways that we can economically extend coverage to all New Yorkers who lack health insurance and don't qualify for existing state programs," said Commissioner Daines. "Improvements in health care quality and affordability must go hand-in-hand with efforts to expand health insurance coverage, because if we don't improve New York's health care delivery system, we won't have the resources to achieve universal coverage."

"I expect this call-in session to be extremely informative," said Superintendent Dinallo. "It is essential that we hear from stakeholders, experts and, most of all, the public on making health care affordable and accessible for all. While there is widespread consensus on the goals, we need everyone's wisdom and support for a practical set of building blocks for accessible and affordable health care."

Public hearings have been held in Glens Falls and Buffalo. The remaining hearings will be held on October 30 in New York City; November 13 in Syracuse; November 26 in Rochester; and December 5 on Long Island. All individuals interested in participating in the call-in session or one of the remaining hearings must pre-register with the New York State Department of Health or the New York State Department of Insurance. To pre-register or for more information on the hearings and the Partnership for Coverage initiative, please visit: http://partnership4coverage.ny.gov.