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POLITICO New York Health Care: Jockeying over $15; changing the law

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written by Dan Goldberg

INTENSIFYING BATTLE — With 10 days until a final agreement is due, advocacy groups are ramping up their efforts to include a $15 minimum wage in the state budget. Several nonprofit organizations, advocates and Democratic legislators are planning a rally outside the Senate chambers in the Capitol Tuesday calling for a $15 minimum wage. Organizations that serve the developmentally disabled have held press conferences in the Capitol in the last several weeks asking that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature include at least $135 million in Medicaid funding in the budget to help offset the cost associated with the wage increases for their staff. Other health care providers have also called for the minimum wage to include some sort of funding to help with the sting of a rising wage for their employees. A coalition of health care providers, including the Home Care Association of New York State, LeadingAge New York, Healthcare Association of New York State, New York State Health Facilities Association, iissued a statement Monday saying it is important an increase in the minimum wage include a funding stream. POLITICO New York’s Josefa Velasquez has more:

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SHIFTING LANES — The state health department's Medicaid Redesign Team has released an updated value-based payment roadmap that calls for state regulations dealing with self-referrals and anti-kickback laws to more closely reflect federal standards.

NOW WE KNOW — Video games may improve children’s intellectual skills, according to a study from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. A younger me would have said, “great, let’s get rid of high school.” The older me agrees.

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FINANCES — For New York City Health + Hospitals, the nation’s largest public hospital system, to survive on sound financial footing without relying on ever-growing cash subsidies from the de Blasio administration, it will need help from the state and federal governments, its CEO, Ram Raju, testified Monday before the City Council. The problem, according to Councilman Corey Johnson, chair of the health committee, is that neither the Cuomo administration nor the Obama administration seem particularly apt to change the rules in a way that would benefit Health + Hospitals' bottom line.

HASA RALLY — HIV/AIDS activists rallied Monday afternoon on the steps of City Hall, calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to appropriate $70 million to help implement his own plan to end the AIDS epidemic by 2020. Advocates thought they had a commitment from Cuomo in November when he announced he would spend $200 million to support HIV/AIDS efforts. When the budget was introduced, however, the administration clarified that the $200 million would be spent over several years, and it wasn't lined out in this year's spending plan. Read more here:

BANNING CIGARETTES — New York City Councilman Brad Lander will introduce a bill Tuesday to prohibit tobacco sales in pharmacies.

BANNING SMOKELESS TOBACCO — The City Council's health committee voted, 7-1, Monday to ban smokeless tobacco from any ticketed sporting event. Robert Cornegy Jr. was the only councilman to vote against the idea. The bill was proposed by Corey Johnson, a Democrat from Manhattan who chairs the health committee.

COMMENCEMENT — Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, will be the commencement speaker for the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

MAKING ROUNDS — Helene Kopal has been elected to the HealthlinkNY board of directors. Kopal is senior director of integrated delivery systems operations at the Center for Regional Healthcare Innovation at WMCHealth in Hawthorne.

THE $100,000 QUESTION — Northwell Health on Monday announced a contest in which the public will decide which of three medical innovations developed by its own employees is most worthy of receiving $100,000 in additional research support. Online voting is open through April 18, according to a press release from Northwell, which is also running local ads during the NCAA tournament encouraging people to vote, part of an overall rebranding campaign that began when the system changed its name from North Shore-LIJ.

ACROSS THE RIVER: Mental health providers testified Monday that changes to the way the state pays for publicly funded services beginning in Fiscal Year 2017 may force organizations to reduce certain community support programs or to shut them down. POLITICO New Jersey’s Katie Jennings has more:

-SEEING GREEN — Elected officials tasked with reviewing Gov. Chris Christie’s budget proposal seemed intrigued by a suggestion Monday that legalizing marijuana could generate hundreds of millions in tax revenue.


ANTHEM SUES EXPRESS SCRIPTS OVER DRUG PRICING — Anthem’'s lawsuit aims to recover damages related to operational problems and for pharmacy pricing that's higher than competitive benchmark pricing, per POLITICO. “Conflict has been brewing for months — Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish previously said the company should be getting $3 billion more a year in drug savings, and it was trying to renegotiate prices with the pharmacy benefit manager. Despite the lawsuit, Anthem said it has not made a decision about ending its contract with Express Scripts.”

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from New York City Health + Hospitals: “When hospitalized, make sure each person checks your ID bracelet before giving you medications.”


-LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD MEN AND WOMEN — Northwell Health is seeking volunteers to test the effectiveness of transcendental meditation on combat veterans to see if it helps with their post-traumatic stress disorder. Individuals interested in participating in the study should call (631) 647-2532.

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here: 3/21, 3/18, 3/17, 3/16, 3/15

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