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POLITICO New York Health Care: Helgerson in Puerto Rico; Zadroga Act included in budget

Dear readers: POLITICO New York Pro subscribers receive an enhanced version of this email at 5:30 a.m. each weekday. If you'd like to receive it, along with a customized real-time news feed of New York health care policy news throughout the day, please contact us at and we'll set you up for trial access.

written by Dan Goldberg

HELGERSON IN PUERTO RICO State Medicaid director Jason Helgerson is back in Puerto Rico, trying to put the finishing touches on an application for a Medicaid waiver the island can send the federal government.

SHIFTING GEARS — For the second time in three months, a major de Blasio administration official directly responsible for the city’s efforts to address a persistent homelessness problem resigned.

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AND MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW Josefa and me on Twitter @J__Velasquez & @DanCGoldberg. And for all New Jersey health news, check out @katiedjennings

RAPE AT RIKERS — Allegations of rape at Rikers Island jumped from 11 in 2014 to 53 so far this year, Sean Cussen, the Department of Correction's deputy director, said Tuesday. Testifying at a City Council hearing, Cussen said 43 of the allegations were made against staff by inmates, while seven were inmate-on-inmate allegations and three were allegations involving inmates before they were in DOC custody.

NOW WE KNOW — Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden report that the number of times Bob Dylan lyrics have appeared in biomedical literature since 1990 has significantly increased, according to an article in The British Medical Journal.

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ZADROGA ACT IN THE BUDGET —Congress appears ready to reauthorize the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, the federal legislation that provides benefits to 9/11 victims and first responders.

...Three Obamacare taxes will be delayed as part of the year-end budget deal, according to POLITICO’s Capitol Hill sources. The Cadillac tax and the medical device tax will be suspended for two years. The health insurance tax will be lifted for one year in 2017, saving health plans more than $12 billion, according to some estimates.

...For the second straight year, Republicans included language mandating that the ACA's "risk corridors" program not cost the government any money, according to POLITICO’s Paul Demko.

FED UP WITH NYCHA — “A federal judge, fed up with NYCHA’s inability to abate toxic mold in its aging apartments, has agreed to appoint a special master to enforce a two-year-old agreement to fix the problem,” the Daily News reports.

DON’T DO THAT — A Mid-Hudson nursing home chain will pay $600,000 to resolve allegations it delayed the discharges of patients so it could make a few extra bucks off of Medicare and Medicaid, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

OR THAT — Leonard Marchetta, 48, a physician’s assistant, was sentenced in federal court to 11 years in prison for conspiring to distribute 125,000 30-milligram oxycodone pills out of his Staten Island medical clinic to patients who had no need for the drug, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

MAKING ROUNDS — Leslie Barbara, partner and co-chair of the Matrimonial & Family Law department at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP, has been elected to the Board of Directors of Fountain House, a non-profit addressing the impact of serious mental illness.

ALSO MAKING ROUNDS — Mitchell Hochberg has been named chair of the board of directors of the Westchester County Health Care Corporation, a $2 billion network comprised of seven hospitals. Hochberg, president and COO of the Lightstone Group, had been first vice chair.

HAPPENING TODAY — Health care workers from two of the state's largest unions will be outside 21 dialysis centers, handing out leaflets as they fight for a new contract with Fresenius Medical Care.

ACROSS THE RIVER: Supporters of the proposed sale of Saint Michael’s Medical Center in Newark turned out in force Tuesday for a state Department of Health public hearing.

PHARMA REPORT: The Wall Street Journal reports: “A handful of firms are offering employees free or subsidized tests for genetic markers associated with metabolism, weight gain and overeating, while companies such as Visa Inc., Slack Technologies Inc., Instacart Inc. recently began offering workers subsidized tests for genetic mutations linked to breast and ovarian cancer.”


-THE EXPERTS WERE WRONG — The New York Times reports on some startling new research that is likely going “to force a rethinking of some conventional wisdom about health care. In particular, they cast doubt on the wisdom of encouraging mergers among hospitals, as parts of the 2010 health care law did.”

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from the state health department, which reminds us that: “Holiday lights, antique ornaments & plastic decorations can all contain lead. Wash a child’s hands. Prevent exposure.”


-NEW SITE — The Global Health Impact Index, headed by Binghamton University associate professor Nicole Hassoun published an article in PLOS One, which ranks pharmaceutical companies based on their drugs' impact on global health.

-THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT — NYU Langone Medical Center has developed a free iPhone and Apple Watch app that can be used by concussion victims to track their recovery.

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MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here: 12/15, 12/14, 12/11, 12/10, 12/9

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