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Governor Cuomo should act to protect Medicaid patients who need topical oxygen wound therapy

Open letter to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

SEN. RUBEN DIAZ | 11/30/2017, 2:29 p.m.
Governor, you should know that I have written to you before about the importance of topical oxygen wound therapy to ...
State Sen. Ruben Diaz Facebook

Governor, you should know that I have written to you before about the importance of topical oxygen wound therapy to New Yorkers who are on Medicaid.

Topical oxygen wound therapy is a safe and effective treatment for patients suffering from chronic, open wounds that come from diseases such as diabetes and have not responded to other treatments.  It is only used after other treatments fail. Patients use it in the convenience and comfort of their own homes. It literally saves people from having limbs amputated.

You should know that New York State’s Medicaid patients who need this treatment are overwhelmingly low-income Black and Hispanic people, and more of these patients live in the 32nd Senatorial District in the Bronx than in any other part of the State of New York.

You should know the state decided to cover this treatment nearly 10 years ago, but that the state Department of Health more recently has tried—repeatedly—to end coverage for this important treatment.

That prompted my colleagues and me in the Legislature to pass a bill making sure that New Yorkers on Medicaid continue to have access to topical oxygen wound therapy. The bill passed unanimously in the Assembly and passed the Senate 60-3. If you total the votes in the Legislature, the bill passed 205-3!

You should know that just last month, the state Health Department’s own panel of health care experts—whose job it is to oversee what benefits the state offers under Medicaid—voted unanimously to continue covering topical oxygen wound therapy indefinitely.

You should sign this bill into law.

New York State was a leader when it decided to cover topical oxygen wound therapy in 2008. The federal government, the Veterans Administration and other programs have followed New York’s lead.  

Our state should continue to be a leader now.

Dear Governor Cuomo, as we enter the holiday season, I can think of no better or more compassionate gift to New Yorkers who suffer from these painful and debilitating wounds than ensuring they can receive a treatment that helps them heal and helps fortify their dignity.

Please sign the topical oxygen wound treatment bill.

I am State Sen. Rubén Díaz, and I have said what you should know.