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Know Your Rights
Source: Make the Road New York
Subject: Language Access
Type: Event

VICTORY! New York State Passes Landmark SafeRx Legislation

On March 30, Governor Cuomo and the New York State legislature passed the landmark “SafeRx” legislation to ensure that all chain and mail order pharmacies statewide provide comprehensive translation and interpretation services for limited English proficient New Yorkers.

Now, all New Yorkers will get accurate information, in a language they can understand, about how to take their medications properly and safely.

This law is the first state law of its kind in the United States, and was orignially conveived of and advocated for by MRNY and our partner, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. Safe Rx builds upon the City-level legislation requiring language access in chain pharmacies that we worked to pass in 2009, and culminates decades of work to improve language access in the healthcare setting.

Medication can be dangerous and it is essential that all New Yorkers are able to understand and follow their prescriptions. SafeRx makes fundamental improvements to ensure patient safety:

    1. Safe Rx Ensures Equal Access: Chain and mail order pharmacies will be required to provide translation and interpretation services to millions of limited English proficient New Yorkers.
    2. Safe Rx Identifies Patients Who Need Help: Prescription forms and electronic prescriptions will now include a section for doctors and nurses to indicate that a patient is limited English proficient, indicating that pharmacists should offer those patients the extra help they need.
    3. Safe Rx Promotes Patient-Centered Prescription Labeling: All pharmacy medication labels will now be clearer so that English language-learners, seniors, those with limited health literacy, and anyone who has ever been confused by the complex and tedious instructions will no longer face fear and uncertainty when administering their medication.

Make the Road New York is proud to have worked closely with Governor Andrew Cuomo, Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, Senator Kemp Hannon, and Senator Tom Duane to protect the health of all New Yorkers!