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POLITICO New York Health Care: No money for Utica; ranking donors

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written by Dan Goldberg

STILL NO MONEY FOR UTICA — Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not include $300 million for a Utica hospital in his 30-day budget amendments, despite a push by area lawmakers to restore funding to the region, which was initially promised in last year’s budget.

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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

FOLLOW THE MONEY — We looked at the 25 largest donors to state-level politicians and political parties last year. See them all here:

Here are the top-ranked health related donors.

3: 1199SEIU ($652,600)

While the health care union’s spending on lobbying has decreased since the years in which it regularly spent millions buying advertisements opposing previous governors’ budgets, it remains one of the state’s largest campaign contributors.

6: Greater New York Hospital Association ($528,700)

Like 1199, a relative quieting of the public debate over the healthcare sections of budgets under Cuomo has led to a decrease in GNYHA’s spending, but it still finished as the state’s highest-spending lobby client in a recent bi-monthly reporting period. In addition to the hospital group’s total, executive vice president David Rich made $146,985 in donations last year.

7: New York State Dental Association ($528,450)

The state’s dentists typically have a quieter presence in Albany than many other top donors, but their Empire Dental PAC has been one of the state’s most generous for years.

15: Healthcare Association of New York State ($292,350)

Like the two health care groups mentioned above, HANYS regularly appears near the top of the list of the state’s largest donors.

NOW WE KNOW — Margot Sanger-Katz confirms that we do indeed eat more soup when we are sick. We know this thanks to some sick sleuthing by GrubHub.

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

AETNA’S PLAN — Aetna, the country's third-largest health insurer, is forming an Accountable Care Organization with Mount Sinai Partners. The three-year contract is the latest example of New York health systems signing risk-based agreements with insurers, a move that has been heralded by many of the state's public health officials.

HOOSICK FALLS — The state Department of Financial Services will help residents in Hoosick Falls with mortgage problems. DFS staff will help concerned residents with questions on mortgage loans and refinancing, as well as concerns related to insurance issues.

C-DIFF IN ROCHESTER — The Wall Street Journal writes about how two Rochester hospitals teamed up to combat C. difficile, a nasty bacteria.

GRANT LAND — The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation has awarded Columbia University Center for Infection and Immunity at the Mailman School of Public Health $1.9 million for tick-borne disease research, according to a press release from Columbia.

ACROSS THE RIVER — Gov. Chris Christie delivered his budget address Tuesday. Here are some highlights:

- Christie wants a 30 percent cut in charity care for hospitals, a $150 million cut. Similar to last year, the administration says the decrease in payments is offset by the increase in residents who have gained insurance through Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

- Christie is increasing GME funding by 50 percent, or $60 million.

- Christie proposed $127 million in combined state and federal funds in FY 2017 to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates to providers for behavioral health services, including substance use and mental health treatment, in his annual budget address Tuesday. The state would allocate $20 million. The remaining $107 million would come from the federal government.

PHARMA REPORT: Pfizer will pay nearly $785 million to resolve a whistle-blower lawsuit that alleged the company's Wyeth subsidiary failed to give state Medicaid programs the same discounts it offered private purchasers for its heart burn medicine Protonix between 2001 and 2006, according to POLITICO.

-NEW TACK — The Wall Street Journal examines a new tack from pharmaceutical companies, which are running ads for drugs treating serious, life-threatening conditions or those with relatively small patient populations — often expensive medicines prescribed by specialist doctors.


-A HIDDEN EPIDEMIC — The Chicago Tribune explores how and why dangerous drug interactions so frequently occur in an era when technology and human intervention could so easily prevent them.

-NEW ZIKA GUIDELINES — The FDA is recommending that individuals at risk of Zika infection avoid donating blood for four weeks as part of new guidelines issued this afternoon.

-CALIFF TO MOVE FORWARD — Shortly after GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski lifted her hold on Robert Califf's nomination to lead the Food and Drug Administration, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the Senate will hold a rare cloture vote to proceed with his confirmation, according to POLITICO.

-HOLLYWOOD HACKING — reports: “Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center's (HPMC) computers and connected medical devices have been down for more than a week due to a cyberattack, but the hospital says that hackers have not accessed medical records and that patient care is unaffected.”

-HOW IT HAPPENED — ProPublica’s Charles Ornstein sat down with The Wall Street Journal’s John Carreyou to discuss how the Theranos story broke.

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from New York City Health + Hospitals: “When using secondhand baby products, always check for damages.”


-IT’S NOT WORKING — Aaron Carroll points to a Health Affairs study which found incentivizing employees to lose weight did not work.

...Why this matters: It’s really hard to change behavior and Mayor Bill de Blasio is willing to pay up to $6.6 million for weight-management services for the city's 340,000 employees as part of an effort to find more than $3 billion in health care savings. Read my story on that plan here:

IN THE BOWELS — Researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine write about a new therapy that blocks an immune response in mice, a possible respite for those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease.

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here: 2/16, 2/12, 2/11, 2/10, 2/9

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