State Health Commissioner Tours Western New York to Tout Governor's Health Care Reforms

ALBANY, N.Y. (Jan. 7, 2009) - State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., will visit community leaders, health care providers, and patient advocates in Rochester, Batavia and Buffalo Thursday and Friday, Jan. 8-9, to discuss the health care reforms contained in Governor David A. Paterson's proposed 2009-2010 state budget.

Governor Paterson's reforms will expand access to health insurance and transform the health-care reimbursement system to encourage greater access to primary and preventive health care, helping more New Yorkers to stay healthy and avoid unnecessary hospitalizations.

Spending for Medicaid, the state's largest health insurer, will be transformed to ensure that patients receive high-quality care at the right price in the most appropriate setting. The budget includes millions of dollars in transitional funding as health care institutions around the state adjust their business plans to accommodate the new health care reimbursement structure.

"I look forward to discussing the Governor's groundbreaking health care reforms and to hearing from doctors, patients and community leaders on the need for greater access to affordable, high-quality preventive care," said Commissioner Daines.

While in Rochester on Thursday, Dr. Daines will visit the Rochester Surround Care Community Corporation, the Anthony Jordan Community Health Center, and meet with the editorial board of the Democrat and Chronicle newspaper. Later in the day, Dr. Daines will meet with the editorial board of the Batavia Daily News.

On Friday Dr. Daines' visit in Buffalo will be highlighted by a news conference at Roswell Park Cancer Institute to commemorate the one millionth call received by the New York State Smokers Quitline, which is headquartered at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

"The New York State Smokers Quitline has helped over 125,000 former smokers to quit smoking," said Dr. Daines. "The Quitline is a proven intervention that we know helps smokers quit smoking and improve their health."

His Buffalo schedule also includes meetings with the physicians of the ECMC/Kaleida Professional Steering Committee, members of the local state legislative delegation, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, and a meeting with the editorial board at the Buffalo News.

Dr. Daines will also participate in a roundtable discussion with health care advocates and patients at the Frank E. Merriweather Library on Buffalo's East Side. Other stops include visits to faith-based programs that focus on health care and the University at Buffalo Ophthalmology Faculty Practice.