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POLITICO New York Health Care: Court win for city sodium push; Cuomo still supports Utica hospital

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 newyork@politicopro.com and we'll set you up for trial access.

written by Dan Goldberg

SODIUM DECISION IS IMPORTANT WIN FOR CITY The city’s Board of Health notched an important victory Wednesday as a Manhattan judge upheld a first-of-its-kind mandate requiring sodium labels and warnings for certain menu items at chain restaurants. “Information is power,” said Supreme Court justice Eileen Rakower, rejecting the National Restaurant Association's argument that the required warnings amounted to a burden on either consumers or franchise owners.

...The ruling, if upheld, is critical for the Board of Health, which had seen its powers curtailed in recent years — first by a Court of Appeals ruling in the so-called soda ban case, and then, more recently, when a state Supreme Court judge ruled the health department could not require flu vaccines in order for children to attend city-licensed preschools and day care centers. More here: http://politi.co/1T7UzwJ

SHARE ME: Like this newsletter? Please tell a friend to sign up. Give them this link: http://politi.co/1gMLiJV

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

STILL SUPPORTIVE — Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday reaffirmed his support for a hospital in Utica after funding was stripped from his executive budget proposal. “It is something I support,” Cuomo told reporters in Kingston who had inquired about the facility. “I believe the hospital should be built. The question is the best way to fund it. And that’s what we’re talking through during the budget process.” Last year, Cuomo and the Legislature agreed to a $1.4 billion pool of capital funding in the state budget aimed to create new hospitals in Brooklyn and upstate. The funding was evenly divided between upstate and downstate, with $300 million of the upstate share directed for a hospital in Oneida County. To the surprise of the Utica-area lawmakers who pushed for the funding, tucked away into the governor’s executive budget proposal last month was a reappropriation of the $300 million set for the new hospital in Utica.

NOW WE KNOW — The Palm Beach Post has some really good ideas on how to tell if your doctor is actually just an 18-year-old with an online divinity degree. Apparently, that’s a real problem in Palm Beach. http://bit.ly/1T86YRl

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 dgoldberg@politico.com.

CUOMO HEADED TO HOOSICK FALLS — Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he will travel to Hoosick Falls within the next few weeks, after a temporary water treatment system is installed. http://politi.co/1LcP3FY

HOOSICK SUIT — A New York City law firm has brought a federal class-action lawsuit against the companies responsible for the pollution in Hoosick Falls. Weitz & Luxenberg is suing Saint-Gobain and Honeywell, which the state has deemed responsible for the pollution in the water around Hoosick Falls. http://politi.co/1LcTZKV

BILL TRACKER — A new bill would make it easier to file for personal injury claims related to state and federal Superfund sites such as Hoosick Falls. http://politi.co/1T7Sf94

...Sen. Kemp Hannon’s bill to prohibit the sale of powdered caffeine passed the Senate. http://bit.ly/1T7XWnm

...Sen. Rich Funke’s bill to allow retroactive enrollment in child health insurance plans passed the Senate. http://bit.ly/1T7Y6uV

NOT FAMILIAR WITH IT Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said he’s “not familiar” with Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick's proposal to open a facility where heroin addicts can use the drug under medical supervision, but plans to pursue a plan to curb heroin later this year. The proposal, widely covered in the media, would allow supervised injection sites. http://politi.co/1LcTOzq

HUNGER ACTION — Lawmakers and representatives of food banks around the state held an event outside the Senate chambers on Wednesday to request an additional $16.5 million for the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program. Advocates are pushing legislative leaders to increase the HPNAP budget from the $34.5 million it has been since 2007 to $51 million, said Susan Zimet, the executive director of the Hunger Action Network.

FINANCES — Albany Medical Center reported a $19.6 million operating margin for 2015.

RESTRUCTURING Albany Business Review examines Albany Medical Center’s efforts to become a regional health system. http://bit.ly/1T7YtFQ

MAKING ROUNDS — Dr. David Duggan is stepping down as medical school dean at Upstate Medical University, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard. http://bit.ly/1T7Z0rl

CHECK THIS OUT — The Manhattan Institute is hosting a conference March 23 on hospital consolidation and competition in New York State. Distinguished health care experts, from academia, business, and nonprofits, will examine various tools that policymakers can use to deliver better outcomes across New York’s vast health care ecosystem, including regulatory reforms to boost competition, better state and federal antitrust oversight, and value-based purchasing strategies. http://bit.ly/215xkrf

...I’ll be moderating the first panel and want to know what you think I should ask and/or discuss. Email me at dgoldberg@politico.com

ALSO MAKING ROUNDS — Marc Gershow, an assistant professor in NYU's Department of Physics, and Katherine Nagel, an assistant professor of neuroscience and physiology at NYU Langone Medical Center and its Neuroscience Institute, have been awarded fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The fellowships are given to early-career scientists and scholars "whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars--the next generation of scientific leaders." Fellows receive $55,000, over a two-year period, to further their research. http://bit.ly/1T7WdOW

ACROSS THE RIVER — State Sen. Joseph Vitale has a new plan for how to address the tax exempt status of nonprofit hospitals, after Gov. Chris Christie’s pocket-veto of a bill that dealt with the issue last session. Vitale said his new bill (S1306) would tie the property tax exemption status of nonprofit hospitals to how much the individual hospital gives back to the community. http://politi.co/1T87lv1

WHAT WE’RE READING:

-CONFIRMED — The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved Robert Califf, the White House nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday, overpowering a small band of lawmakers fighting the confirmation to protest the agency's role in the prescription painkiller epidemic, according to POLITICO.

-RACIAL DISPARITIES — Kaiser Health News reports: “Psychiatric hospitalizations of Latino children and young adults in California are rising dramatically — at a much faster pace than among their white and black peers, according to state data.” http://bit.ly/1T7UZ65

-DON’T DO THAT — Richard J. Pieri, 59, a registered nurse in Pennsylvania assisted, with an emergency surgery while under the influence of alcohol at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, according to the Allentown Morning Call. http://bit.ly/1T7YU2N

-MAKING A FEDERAL CASE OUT OF IT — Health Republic Insurance of Oregon has filed a class action lawsuit over the federal government's failure to pay health plans the money owed to them under Obamacare's risk corridors program. We’re a long way from knowing whether New York would follow suit but keep watching this as it develops.

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from the Cleveland Clinic: “Combat dry winter skin with these dermatologist’s tips.” cle.clinic/1LGpSqd

STUDY THIS:

-DEFINITIONS — Dr. Clifford Deutschman, vice chair of research in the Department of Pediatrics at Cohen Children's Medical Center and an investigator at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, revised the definitions and clinical criteria for sepsis and septic shock in an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Deutschman’s recommendation, made with 18 others, defines sepsis “as life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection," and septic shock as “a subset of sepsis in which particularly profound circulatory, cellular, and metabolic abnormalities are associated with a greater risk of mortality than with sepsis alone.” http://bit.ly/1T7VHQU

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here: 2/24, 2/23, 2/22, 2/19, 2/18

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