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POLITICO New York Health Care, presented by The Healthcare Education Project: Recruitment challenges; budget dance continues

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

RECRUITMENT CHALLENGES — In the latest issue of POLITICO New York’s magazine, I look at what effect the fight for a $15 minimum wage will have on recruitment and retention in the health care sector. Many facilities that work with the physically and developmentally disabled are struggling to compete with the retail and food services industries that can pay more. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already instructed a wage board to increase salaries in certain sectors and state employees can soon expect a raise as well. What’s even scarier, for many in the field, is a minimum wage increase without a commensurate increase in the Medicaid rate upon which so many health facilities rely. Read my magazine piece here:

MORE FROM THE ONE-HOUSE BUDGET Here are a few more highlights we pulled from the one-house budgets. These may not make it into law, but they are a good barometer of how the Assembly and Senate feel about certain proposals made by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

-MEDICAID TRADE — Senate Republicans are willing to help out Mayor Bill de Blasio on Medicaid, for a price.

-DRUG PRICING — Neither the Senate nor the Assembly agree with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposals to control drug spending and instead have offered their own suggestions to tackle one of the thorniest problems confronting the health care industry.

** 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: **

-HEALTH REPUBLIC — The state Senate is requiring Gov. Andrew Cuomo to make providers whole after the demise of Health Republic Insurance of New York, the company that collapsed at the end of last year, forcing many hospitals and physicians to treat patients with little or no chance of reimbursement. The Senate, in an outline of the one-house budget resolution set to be voted on today, "requires the executive to identify funding or settlement funds in addition to remaining assets to reimburse hospitals, physicians and producers pro-rata for losses associated with the demise of Health Republic upon completion of the formal liquidation process." The Senate did not include this in its one-house budget bills introduced over the weekend.

-MONEY FOR CONSOLIDATION — The Senate's and Assembly's one-house budgets each allot $200 million for "health care facility transformation" — that is, for spurring mergers, acquisitions and consolidations by helping smaller, struggling facilities pay down their debt and make their balance sheets more palatable to larger players looking at acquisitions.

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

SIGN UP: We're launching The Strategist from POLITICO New York this Thursday, March 17. The Strategist is a newsletter about the business of politics and policy in New York City and Albany. You will receive exclusive access to this reported briefing on money in politics, executive moves, and the latest trends in communications, lobbying and political consulting. Sign up here:

EXAMINING NONPROFITS — Board members of the city’s nonprofits must take more responsibility and become better stewards of their organizations, says a report released Tuesday, the second self-examination of the sector to come out in the past month. The authors reach many of the same conclusions as those of a recently released report from the Human Services Council. Both are responses to the bankruptcy of Federation for Employment & Guidance Service, which shocked the industry and prompted a wave of introspection.

EXPANDING — Memorial Sloan Kettering will announce today that the Lehigh Valley Health Network Cancer Institute has officially joined its cancer alliance, a move six months in the making and one that expands MSK's reach into Pennsylvania. The cancer alliance grows the Memorial Sloan Kettering brand while allowing the hospital access to more patients for clinical trials.

NOW WE KNOW — Is there someone in your life lacking a certain grace? Maybe she falls trying to get into the shower? Well don’t make fun because young adults fall far more frequently than you might expect, according to research from Purdue University published in Human Movement Science.

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

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.

...I will be moderating the first panel and want to know what you think I should ask and/or discuss. Email me at

FREE FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS — DNAinfor reports: “A pilot program to bring free feminine hygiene products that started at a Corona high school is being expanded to 25 schools across the city. Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland launched the city's first free feminine hygiene dispenser program at the High School for Arts and Business in Corona in September with support from Hospeco, a health care company. Students and faculty lauded the program, saying it would encourage better attendance and less distraction for female students.”

LEAD CONCERN — Syracuse plans to test drinking water in each of the city's public schools for lead in the wake of the recent discovery of high lead levels in water at Ithaca city schools, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard.

COMING ATTRACTIONS — The New York City Board of Health meets today at 10 a.m. in Queens.

MAKING ROUNDS — Niagara Falls Memorial is expanding its women’s health service because of overwhelming demand.

ACROSS THE RIVER: The State Senate and Assembly passed bills (S996/A1378) Monday that would make a supplemental appropriation of $10 million to the Lead Hazard Control Assistance Fund. The legislation was pocket-vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie last session. There has been a renewed legislative focus on the issue of childhood lead poisoning in the wake of sustained national attention surrounding the lead-contaminated water in Flint, Michigan. Community advocates have testified at recent hearings that more than 3,100 children in New Jersey had elevated blood lead levels last year, mostly due to lead-based paint. POLITICO New Jersey’s Katie Jennings has more:

PHARMA REPORT: Epidiolex, a drug derived from marijuana made by GW pharmaceutical, reduces episodic seizures.


-TACKLING THE IMPORTANT ISSUES — Utah's legislature has declared porn a public health crisis, according to Vice. The resolution affirms that porn consumption "can impact brain development and functioning, contribute to emotional and medical illnesses, shape deviant sexual arousal and lead to difficulty in forming or maintaining intimate relationships." For the record, only 20 percent of Utah teen girls have had all three doses of the HPV vaccine.

-CAMPAIGN CLUSTER-&*@! — Elizabeth Holmes, the embattled leader of Theranos, whose breakthrough technology earned her fame and fortune but now has been found lacking, is hosting a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in Palo Alto, California, according to Re-Code. “The event includes a conversation with former First Family member Chelsea Clinton, and participants who pay $2,700 get to go to a “host reception” with Chelsea.”

-A MORE HUMANE ICU — The Boston Globe writes about hospital efforts to take the trauma out of the intensive care unit. “There is a growing realization that many are left emotionally troubled by the experience, which can be marred by hallucinations, poor communication, lack of respect for privacy, and, later, post-traumatic stress syndrome.”

-TRUMPCARE — The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, an independent Washington-based fiscal watchdog, says Donald Trump’s health care plan would cause 21 million people to lose insurance and increase the deficit by nearly $500 billion over the next decade.

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from the state’s Department of Health, which reminds us: “A clean home is a safer home. Wash all floors, windows and children’s toys often to prevent lead poisoning.”


-FILIPINO HEALTH SUNY Downstate Medical Center has found increased risk of obesity among Filipino immigrants living in the New York City metropolitan area, according to a study in the journal Family & Community Health. Immigrants typically become less healthy the longer they stay in the United States. Researchers suggest contributing factors might include work stress, more sedentary jobs, discrimination and less healthy diets.

** 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: **

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here: 3/14, 3/11, 3/10, 3/9, 3/8

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