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POLITICO New York Health Care: De Blasio appoints new commissioner; city responds to sodium suit

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

WELCOME BACK — Hope everyone had a happy New Year. I’ll be up in Albany next week and, as always, would love to meet with readers. Email me at if you’d like to set something up.

APPOINTED — As the city continues to grapple with rising homelessness and conducts an overview of its services, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday the appointment of Herminia Palacio, who will serve as Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, overseeing eight agencies and a multibillion dollar budget.

LANDING AT HEALTH + HOSPITALS — For the second time in recent months, Mayor Bill de Blasio moved one of his top administration officials to NYC Health + Hospitals. The mayor announced he would move Stacey Cumberbatch, commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, to the hospitals agency.

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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

SODIUM RESPONSE — The city's health department responded Tuesday to a lawsuit from the National Restaurant Association, which New York's new sodium rule was a "nonsensical scheme" from a "renegade" Board of Health.

DE BLASIO STILL INVOLVED WITH LICH — Fearing a loss of potential below-market housing at a Brooklyn location that was central to his 2013 election, Mayor Bill de Blasio has dispatched top aides to strike a compromise for the future of the Long Island College Hospital site.

NOW WE KNOW — Men have higher self esteem than women, particularly in western countries, according to research published by the American Psychological Association in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

WE'D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU: This roundup is for you, so please tell us how we can make it even better. Send tips, news, ideas, calendar items, releases, promotions, job postings, birthdays, congratulations, criticisms and corrections to

HAPPENING TODAY — State Senators Kemp Hannon and Jim Seward will hold a roundtable on the collapse of Health Republic Insurance of New York.

SLOW START FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA — Only eight of the 20 planned medical marijuana dispensaries will be ready for the program’s start date Thursday, the Department of Health announced Tuesday.

OUTSOURCING AT THE VA — The Syracuse Post-Standard reports: “The Syracuse VA Medical Center is sending veterans in need of knee replacements and other orthopedic operations to other hospitals because its two part-time orthopedic surgeons have retired.”

THE ABORTION DEBATE — Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate portions of Texas law that restrict abortion access.

...The de Blasio administration also filed an amicus brief. Read it here:

CLINTON’S AUTISM PLAN — Hillary Clinton announced her plan to combat autism Tuesday, committing to greater research funding and support for caregivers.

LEAVE — Mayor Bill de Blasio will sign his executive order granting paid parental leave to certain non-union city employees Thursday afternoon at City Hall, labor sources told POLITICO New York.

NORTHWELL’S LATEST MOVE — On Tuesday, Northwell Health — formerly North Shore-LIJ — announced it had formed a new company with Newport Health Solutions called Health Connect Technologies, LLC. The goal of the new company, the organizations said in a press release, is to “further develop and commercialize its suite of population health and network management products.” Health Connect aims to allow physicians, hospitals and other service providers to connect with one another.

DON’T DO THAT — U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced Tuesday that 14 men pleaded guilty to being part of a drug ring that brought tens of thousands of oxycodone pills and significant amounts of heroin to Rockland County.

GRANT LAND — The Children’s Hospital of Montefiore received a four year, $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to evaluate a new type of pain medication.

ACROSS THE RIVER — The leader of a community coalition indicated during a public hearing Tuesday evening that the group's support for the proposed sale of Saint Michael's Medical Center is contingent upon at least two of its members getting seats on the hospital's board of trustees.

PHARMA REPORT: Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. is planning to appoint a new chief executive while its CEO, Michael Pearson, remains under hospital care, according to the Wall Street Journal.

-ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANNKIND — Ed Silverman, writing one of the better ledes of the week, reports that “after months of disappointing sales, Sanofi has finally ended its bid to market MannKind’s Afrezza inhaled insulin product, which was one of the more controversial and closely watched product launches in the pharmaceutical industry over the last few years.”


-LEAVING AHIP — POLITICO reports: “Aetna is leaving America's Health Insurance Plans, the second major insurer to leave the powerful K Street lobby group. The nation's third largest insurer "has decided not to renew our AHIP membership for 2016," said spokeswoman Cynthia Michener. UnitedHealth Group, the country's largest insurer, left AHIP in June.”

-OBAMACARE ISN’T KILLING JOBS — A pair of studies finds that Obamacare is not dramatically hurting the labor market, according to POLITICO. “The Affordable Care Act is not driving businesses to move employees into part-time work to avoid offering company-sponsored health care coverage, nor is the law's Medicaid expansion affecting employment among low-income workers.” Read the studies here and here:

-PILOT PROJECT — POLITICO reports: “Medicare and Medicaid will pay providers and other organizations to screen patients about social needs like homelessness, domestic violence and hunger when they visit the hospital, under a new demonstration project announced Tuesday. The five-year, $157 million project ,funded by the Affordable Care Act's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, aims at underlying social issues that can exacerbate health needs or lead to preventable hospitalizations. CMS is betting that linking high-cost beneficiaries to social services can both improve their health outcomes and also cut costs.”

-LUMP SUM — Insurance policies that pay a lump sum if workers get cancer or another serious illness are being offered in growing numbers by employers, according to Kaiser Health News.

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from NYC Health + Hospitals, which reminds us “eating right can be hard, especially with diabetes. Get tips:”


-NO CONNECTION — Researchers from the state’s Department of Health and the National Institutes of Health, writing in JAMA Pediatrics, report that children conceived because of infertility treatments are not more likely to have developmental delays.

-DOESN’T WORK — Workplace wellness programs that use financial incentives such as a discount on premiums aren't getting people to shed pounds, according to a study published in Health Affairs.

GOT SOMETHING TO SAY? We're happy to listen … and so are our influential readers! Email us at and we'll clue you in on messaging options in our newsletters and on POLITICO New York’s web and mobile sites. We'll craft a program tailored to your voice.

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here: 1/5, 1/4, 12/24, 12/23, 12/22

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