Committee Seeking Members
Joining a committee is a great experience and can open up a number of career doors. The following committees are seeking new members for the upcoming committee year beginning on September 1. If you are interested in applying, please complete a committee application.
The AIDS Committee has worked on HIV–related issues and policy matters on city, state, federal and international levels. Most recently, it is drafting a report on proposed New York State legislation prohibiting the use of condoms as evidence of prostitution. Past issues the Committee has explored and weighed in on include the status of HIV+ women in Chile, the United Nations Global Committee on AIDS, and criminalization of HIV in America. AIDS Committee members work in private practice, for non-profit agencies, educational and medical institutions.
The Bioethical Issues Committee explores issues at the intersection of law and medicine. It has many active subcommittees on various areas including Palliative Care and End-of-Life Issues, Organ Donation and Transplantation, Legal Issues Affecting Academic Medical Centers, and Patents and Biotechnology. Our current roster of topics includes the examination of legislative restrictions on pain medication for terminally ill patients, participation by healthcare professionals in enforced interrogation techniques, the legal implications of innovations in transplant medicine, and the controversies surrounding gene patenting.
Health Services for Transgender New Yorkers
The Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights issued a report urging repeal of New York State’s regulatory exclusion of state Medicaid insurance coverage for any care, services, drugs, or supplies for the purpose of gender reassignment. Transgender people are the only group of New Yorkers who are currently denied Medicaid coverage for services based on their identity. Providing full coverage for transgender health services will put transgender patients in the same position as all other patients in that only medically necessary services will be covered. The report recommends that New York should follow the increasing number of states, municipalities, and private employers and provide coverage for all mental health, medical, and surgical treatments necessary to provide adequate health care to transgender people.
Interim Medicaid Services
The Committee on Legal Problems of the Aging expressed opposition to Section 34 of Part A of the 2013 Health and Mental Hygiene Budget Article VII for 2013-2014 (A.3006-B/S.2606-B), which would eliminate the requirement that social services districts provide interim Medicaid services for those with immediate needs while their Medicaid applications are pending. The passage of this proposed amendment would put the health of New Yorkers at risk. There are circumstances, the report notes, in which gravely ill or impaired New Yorkers need immediate care. Without access to immediate services the ill individual will face health and safety risks and unnecessary suffering.
In a joint report the Committees on Drugs and the Law and Health Law examine the legalization of medical marijuana in New York State and express support for A.7347-B/S.2774-A which would create a system for the production, distribution and medical use of marijuana for those citizens who would likely benefit from such use. The report notes that the proposed legislation is among the strictest in the country and accomplishes the dual goal of providing relief to suffering patients and protecting the public interest in regulating a controlled substance and does so under both medical and governmental oversight. The report offers a number of suggested revisions to improve the legislation including: 1) only physicians and nurse practitioners should be granted the privilege to certify patients for use of medical marijuana; 2) qualified practitioners should be authorized to de-certify a patient provided the patient is currently under their care and the definition of “caring for” should be clarified; and 3)“registered producers” should be authorized to dispense medical marijuana directly to patients and caregivers in under-served areas, which areas would be designated by the Department of Health.
The Committee on Legal Problems of the Aging expressed opposition to Section 68 of Part A of the 2013 Health and Mental Hygiene Budget Article VII for 2013-2014 (A.3006-B/S.2606-B), which would eliminate the spousal refusal option in New York State’s Medicaid program for couples living at home. The report notes that these changes would adversely impact some of New York’s most vulnerable citizens and, in some cases, conflict with existing law. The report urges that the proposal be removed from the Budget.
Healthcare Coverage for Women in the Military
In a joint letter to Congress, the Sex and Law Committee and the Military Affairs and Justice Committee expressed support for the Shaheen Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which would extend military healthcare coverage for abortions in cases of rape or incest. While such coverage is available to civilians, federal employees, Medicaid and Medicare recipients, and federal prisoners, the more than 200,000 women who serve on active duty in the U.S. armed forces are denied access to abortion care services and they and their dependents are forced to pay out-of-pocket. Women who serve this country in the military, the letter argues, must be free to make healthcare decisions based upon what they and their families believe is best for their personal circumstances. By excluding coverage for abortion services in cases of rape and incest from military health insurance, the government interferes with a woman’s right and ability to obtain vital healthcare services.
Committee Involvement--It's Never too Late
Committees are how the City Bar’s work gets done. Working on a committee can give you great experience while opening up a number of career doors, some you may not even anticipate.
A full list of the City Bar committees along with a brief description of each and an application form can be found on the City Bar’s website. As a number of City Bar committees have more applicants than available slots, please consider applying to more than one committee.