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POLITICO New York Health Care, presented by The Healthcare Education Project: Paid family leave problems; docs worry about loss of subsidy

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

PAID FAMILY LEAVE STALLED — With budget negotiations set to begin in earnest next week, paid family leave proposals may put to the test the working relationship between the Republicans who control the state Senate and the five-member Independent Democratic Conference. POLITICO New York’s Josefa Velasquez has more: http://politi.co/1TMgJVy

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

SUBSIDY CUT COULD HURT UPSTATE DOCS — Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to cut 25 percent from the state’s Excess Medical Malpractice program has physicians worried that they might be personally held liable in the event of a settlement. Josefa Velasquez has more: http://politi.co/1UcvPSE

PUSHING CUOMO — Several hundred advocates came to the Capitol from around the state Wednesday to push legislators and Cuomo to include $70 million in the state budget to help end the AIDS epidemic. When the governor released his executive budget proposal in January, it fell short of the funding that was anticipated from advocates, allocating just $10 million in new direct spending for HIV/AIDS. http://politi.co/1QE4E0J

** A message from The Healthcare Education Project: What’s a Health Insurance Guaranty Fund? It protects you if your health insurance plan goes broke. New York’s the only state without one.

Tell Albany we need a Health Insurance Guaranty Fund to ensure that families keep their coverage and healthcare providers aren’t left with massive unpaid bills. Visit: www.nyguarantyfund.org **

NOW WE KNOW — Scientists spent eight years trying to figure out how cure people who get headaches after watching 3D movies. Good news, everyone. The world may soon be rid of that crisis. http://bit.ly/24RIX4y

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.

ZIKA READINESS — When health officials last convened a panel of experts at City Hall to discuss the Zika virus, temperatures hovered around 20 degrees, and Mayor Bill de Blasio warned of the dangers of exposing skin to the frigid air. Mosquitoes, needless to say, seemed a far-off concern. On Wednesday, with city temperatures approaching record highs and the number of Zika cases still rising in New York, the need for a plan seemed far more urgent. http://politi.co/1YyK2Ka

WELCOME A BOARD — The board of directors at Kaleida Health on Wednesday elected Frank Curci to serve as its chairman. Curci, the chairman and CEO of Tops Friendly Markets, has served on Kaleida Health’s board since 2012. He succeeds former chairman John Koelmel, whose term expired in April. The board of directors also elected William Maggio as vice chair. Maggio is a principal with Buffalo-based Lorraine Capital.

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

RESTORING FUNDING — The state Assembly is proposing to restore funding for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities and Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities. In addition to renewing more than $950,000 to the NORCs and NNORCs, the Assembly one-house budget proposal will include an additional $2 million for the expansion of these programs, which aim to help aging community members maintain their independence and avoid hospital and nursing home stays.

FINANCES — Buffalo Business First reports: “Catholic Health’s hospitals finished the year with combined revenue in the black, reporting a small surplus of $5.6 million for 2015, a figure that was nearly 84 percent lower than the previous year.” http://bit.ly/1YyQEs7

PAIN IN THE … — More New Yorkers are having surgery and taking prescription medications such as opiate painkillers for back pain, even though noninvasive treatments, including simple exercises and over-the-counter drugs, usually work, according to a new Excellus BlueCross BlueShield report. http://tinyurl.com/huf6c23

MAKING ROUNDS — Dr. James Gasperino, chief of the division of critical care medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens hospital, was named by the Society of Critical Care Medicine to the newly formed Academic Leaders in Critical Care Medicine advisory group.

ACROSS THE RIVER: The state office of the attorney general and the state Department of Health have granted approval for the sale of Saint Michael’s Medical Center in Newark to California-based for-profit hospital chain Prime Healthcare Services. It has been almost three years since Prime first entered into an asset purchase agreement to buy the struggling hospital. In August 2015, Saint Michael’s declared bankruptcy, hoping the move would speed up the state’s review. Prime’s winning bid in the bankruptcy auction was $62.2 million. However, Saint Michael’s owes an outstanding balance on state-backed bonds of around $229 million, which means that the state will be responsible for paying around $170 million in outstanding bond debt.

-WHO WANTS TO KNOW — New Jersey Senate president Stephen Sweeney sent letters to hospital and health system CEOs on Tuesday asking them to provide information about earnings and profit margins from 2005 to 2015. The request comes amid an ongoing debate over tiered health insurance networks. Democratic Sens. Nia Gill and Joseph Vitale have sponsored legislation that would require increased transparency in the formation and regulation of those networks. Read the letter here: http://politi.co/1R7BPgm

PHARMA REPORT: The Wall Street Journal examines Merck’s claim that it is entitled to a cut of Gilead’s blockbuster hepatitis C drugs. Merck claims the active ingredients in Sovaldi and Harvoni infringe on their patents. http://on.wsj.com/1YyPVaf

-OFF LABEL — The Food and Drug Administration will allow a pharmaceutical company to promote a drug for a use that the agency has not approved, according to The New York Times. http://nyti.ms/1YySadF

WHAT WE’RE READING:

-SODA TAX — Two California Assemblymen are proposing a 2 cents per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. http://lat.ms/1YyG980

-IT DIDN’T WORK — The New York Times reports: “The first uterus transplant in the United States failed, and the organ was surgically removed on Tuesday, officials at the Cleveland Clinic said on Wednesday. The recipient, a 26-year-old woman, suddenly developed a serious complication on Tuesday, according to Eileen Sheil, a spokeswoman for the clinic.” http://nyti.ms/1YyQjpo

-DON’T DO THAT — West Virginia lawmakers passed a bill allowing consumption of raw milk. To celebrate they drank raw milk, and many are now suffering from serious stomach pains. “Some lawmakers say it's just a coincidence and a stomach bug is going around,” according to WSAZ. http://bit.ly/1YyRlBC

-PROFILING POWER — The Washington Post profiles the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, “the most powerful group of doctors no one has ever heard of — 16 physicians who decide which checkups and tests Americans need to stay healthy.” http://wapo.st/1YyOU1R

-PART B PLAN GETS CHILLY RECEPTION — A day after the administration released a controversial proposal to test payment models in Medicare Part B, Republican chairmen blasted the idea in a joint statement. The CMS plan "could ultimately result in seniors' receiving different standards of care based solely on where they live in the country," wrote Reps. Fred Upton and Kevin Brady with Sen. Orrin Hatch. Read their letter here: http://1.usa.gov/1YyzvyB

-PATENT BATTLE — The Wall Street Journal reports: “Seldom has an intellectual property feud been freighted with so much commercial consequence, scientific implications and uncertainty as the patent battle involving the gene-editing advancement known as Crispr. … This week marks the opening of proceedings ​in Virginia ​at the federal Patent Trial and Appeal Board​ — ​part of ​the ​Patent and Trademark Office​ — ​that could determine who owns the rights to crucial parts of the technology.” http://on.wsj.com/1YyPnRI

-BOY OH BOY — Want to know why babies born via in vitro fertilization are more likely to be boys? Stat explains. http://bit.ly/1YyRN2G

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from the Cleveland Clinic, which reminds us: “Every 50-gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colon cancer by 18 percent.”

STUDY THIS:

-SIZE MATTERS — A researcher at the University at Buffalo say oversized tonsils and tongue indentations, which are teeth imprints along the tongue that indicate it is too large for the mouth, place people at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea. http://bit.ly/1Szewez

-GAME CHANGE — Doctors successfully altered patients’ immune systems to allow them to accept kidneys from incompatible donors, according to an article in The New England Journal of Medicine. The New York Times has more: http://nyti.ms/1YyOqsF

-BLOOD AND TREASURE — Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have found cells in the embryos of mice that are precursors to blood stem cells, according to a study in Developmental Cell. This could one day impact patients with blood diseases such as leukemia, lymphomas, multiple myeloma and immune deficiency. "To cure disease in the long-term, we need to be able to transplant something that can keep producing new blood cells and won't be rejected by the patient's body," senior author, Kateri Moore, associate professor of developmental and regenerative biology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said in a press release. http://bit.ly/1Sze3sT

** A message from The Healthcare Education Project: What’s a Health Insurance Guaranty Fund? It protects patients and healthcare providers if a health insurance plan goes broke. 49 states have one. New York is the only state that doesn’t. The recent failure of Health Republic left consumers scrambling for new coverage, and hospitals and doctors statewide are still owed hundreds of millions for care they already provided. We need a Guaranty Fund to protect patients and healthcare providers before it’s too late.

The New York State Legislature should create a Health Insurance Guaranty Fund to ensure that families keep their coverage and healthcare providers aren’t left with massive unpaid bills. To learn more, visit: www.nyguarantyfund.org **

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here: 3/9, 3/8, 3/7, 3/4, 3/3

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