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POLITICO New York Health Care: Lying to de Blasio; budget update

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

LYING TO THE MAYOR — Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday his administration was "lied to" about the sale of Rivington House, a former nonprofit medical facility on the Lower East Side that once treated AIDS patients. The site was turned over to Allure Group, a for-profit nursing home company, which later sold the building to a developer who intends to build luxury condos.

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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

WHAT WE DO NOT KNOW — With three days left until the deadline for New York State’s annual budget, Mayor Bill de Blasio still has no idea whether a number of costly measures first proposed in January in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive spending plan will be included.

...Heastie, speaking in Albany, said: “There are smaller items that have been resolved. But the big issues, a lot of them haven’t been closed out. Higher ed, education, Medicaid haven’t been closed out.”

NOW WE KNOW — Researchers created an artificial nose that could smell pollutants in order to better protect original drawings from the Walt Disney Studios.

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

MEDICAL MARIJUANA UPDATE — Since early January, the state estimates 2,039 patients have been certified by their doctors to be eligible for medical marijuana. About 1,000 of those patients, according to the Department of Health, have obtained the drug. POLITICO New York’s Josefa Velasquez has more:

THERE’S GOING TO BE AN APP FOR THAT — The de Blasio administration is looking for a developer to build an app that would notify parents of programs and activities available to children throughout the city. The app, according to a posting in the City Record, should allow users to customize their setting so only age-appropriate activities appear, and then further curate the list by interests. The health department plans to launch the app this summer for kids ages 12 and under.

MORE THERANOS TROUBLE — Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found cholesterol tests performed by Theranos differed significantly from the results produced by the two largest labs in the nation, according to The Wall Street Journal.

DON’T DO THAT Kristen Johnson, 27, of Fulton, surrendered her nursing license after taking photos with her smartphone of an unconscious patient’s penis at Upstate University Hospital, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard.

SIX ARRESTED AT THE CAPITOL — Six demonstrators were arrested Monday night by state troopers in the War Room of the Capitol, just steps away from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, as they called for the governor and legislative leaders to include $70 million in the state budget to end the AIDS epidemic. Four men and two women were arrested shortly after 7:30 p.m., after troopers advised them that the building was closed and anyone who did not want to be arrested should step aside.

MORE SPENDING — The Times-Union says the state budget will increase funding for addiction treatment.

IN CASE YOU MISSED — City & State is running a series examining New York State nursing homes. “Many studies show that for-profit nursing homes generally provide lower quality care when compared with nonprofit or government-owned homes, according to Dr. Charlene Harrington, professor emeritus at University of California San Francisco. She is among the leading researchers on nursing home quality, chronicling the endemic problems in for-profit facilities.”

CONTINUING EDUCATION — The University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Erie County Department of Health and the Harm Reduction Coalition to create a naloxone dispensing education program. “This is a public health crisis,” Erie County Health Commissioner Gale Burstein, and UB clinical professor of pediatrics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, said in a press release. “The number of opioid related deaths in Erie County is the highest we have ever experienced and continues to grow. First responders report resuscitating overdose victims in Erie County at an alarming rate.”

MAKING ROUNDS — NYU Langone has open a comprehensive Spine Center.

CORRECTION — In the early-morning edition of Monday’s newsletter, I confused the words “conception” and “contraception” in an item regarding when women and men should curtail their caffeine intake. This was a Freudian slip, which I am glad was made in this newsletter as opposed to a pharmacy aisle. So, to be clear, the study recommends abstaining from caffeine before conception. Doing so before contraception would present a terrible dilemma for most of us.

PHARMA REPORT: POLITICO reports: “Amgen is asking the Supreme Court to deny Sandoz's request to review the Federal Circuit's decision that a biosimilar company can only give the mandated 180 days' notice of intent to market to the branded biologic maker after FDA approval. Sandoz filed for cert last month.” and


-THE DOCTORS’ PRESCRIPTION — The American College of Physicians proposes giving Medicare and other public health programs more authority to negotiate drug discounts, a policy embraced by Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump — but forcefully opposed by the drug industry. The doctors group also calls for shining a light on drug pricing by requiring drug companies to report research, development and production costs to regulators.

-MEDICAID EXPANSION — Nearly 2 million uninsured people with mental illness or substance abuse disorder could get coverage if their states expanded Medicaid, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services.

-COUNTING CALORIES — If you live in New York City, you’re used to seeing calorie labels on menu boards. The Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, was supposed to have the nation follow suit. But as the Associated Press reports, the Food and Drug Administration has once again delayed implementation of the rule.

-HACKED — The Washington Post reports: “A virus infected the computer network of MedStar Health early Monday morning, forcing the Washington health-care behemoth to shut down its email and vast records database and raising additional concerns about the security of hospitals nationwide.”

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from the Cleveland Clinic, which offers us common reasons for foot cramps.


-GUT FEELING — Researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine say some of the bacteria in our gut can kick our immune system into gear and lessen the severity of a stroke.

-AIRING GRIEVANCES — Air pollution is responsible for 16,000 premature births in the United States, costing the nation $4.33 billion, according to researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center. The number is calculated by adding together the $760 million spent on prolonged hospital stays and the estimated $3.57 billion in lost economic productivity of these children, according to the study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here: 3/28, 3/25, 3/24, 3/23, 3/22

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