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POLITICO New York Health Care: Changes at Health + Hospitals; council examines nonprofits

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written by Dan Goldberg

CHANGES AT H+H — New York City Health + Hospitals will announce four new executives today, part of an ongoing effort to change the leadership and the thinking at the financially troubled system.

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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

IF THE MAYOR KNEW IT — Mayor Bill de Blasio said he never would have allowed a nursing home to turn into luxury condos had his administration informed him of the land use deal. The agency that oversaw the deal apparently never told anyone in City Hall when it allowed the deed to the property to be changed in late 2015, spokeswoman Karen Hinton said.

LOOKING AT NONPROFITS — City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal held a hearing on Monday to discuss the financial viability of the human services sector, admittedly “not a sexy topic,” she said, but one that needed to be addressed in light of the growing number of nonprofits facing insolvency.

NOW WE KNOW — Spanish researchers watched 6,000 NBA games and determined that the way players move around the court, interacting with teammates and opponents, is similar to how all living things must continually evolve in order to survive. Seriously.

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IMPROVEMENT AT HOOSICK FALLS — Soil samples collected from the Little League baseball fields near Hoosick Falls' contaminated water wells do not show dangerous levels of contamination, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday.

GILLIBRAND ON OPIOIDS — Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was in Syracuse Monday to talk about the opioid epidemic.

FINANCES — MVP Health Care reported ending 2015 with a significant increase in operating margin compared to 2014. The insurer reported a gross revenue of $2.92 billion in 2015, with a net income of $42.3 million, up from an operating loss of $12.4 million in 2014.

MORE FINANCES — The Hospital for Special Surgery reported $85 million in operating income in 2015, slightly more than what was reported in 2014, according to its most recently released financial report.

MAKING ROUNDS — Elizabeth Swain, president and CEO of the Community Health Care Association of New York State, is leaving her post for health reasons, she announced today. "The talent of the staff, commitment of the Board, award winning results of the health centers’ programs, and dynamic nature of the external environment are beyond compare," she wrote in an email. "But because of very serious challenges I face in my own health, I must consider my future." She said she plans to leave mid-year.

AD CAMPAIGN — Montefiore Health System has a new advertising campaign entitled “Doing More.” The campaign is meant to highlight Montefiore’s expansion north of the Bronx.

ACROSS THE RIVER: Almost every seat in the audience of the Assembly regulatory oversight committee Monday was occupied by employees of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey or individuals testifying in favor of the insurer’s OMNIA tiered health plans. But the show of force wasn’t enough to stop a package of bills that would regulate tiered health insurance networks from advancing. The five bills, largely drafted in response to the rollout of Horizon’s OMNIA plans last fall, would impose new regulations on all tiered health insurance plans offered in the state and revise the mandate of the state Department of Banking and Insurance. A sixth measure that would impose a moratorium on the implementation of tiered health insurance networks was held. POLITICO New Jersey’s Katie Jennings has more:

PHARMA REPORT: The U.S. Treasury issued new rules that appear to put the merger between Pfizer and Allergan in jeopardy. STAT explains:


-FOLLOW THE MONEY — Health care groups spent more than $500 million last year on lobbying Washington -- more than any other industry and the highest total since the year after Obamacare passed, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

-SLIDING BACK — The Washington Examiner has a good story on how a model program to fight drug abuse, praised by the White House, has failed. “The situation did temporarily improve in Wilkes, a county of about 70,000 in the state's northwestern corner where nearly one in four people lives below the poverty line. But the county's rate of deaths and hospitalizations from prescription drug overdoses have since climbed, returning to peak levels and underscoring the difficulty activists and policymakers face in tamping down abuse once and for all.”

-PAY ATTENTION TO THIS — The Yellow Fever outbreak in Angola has killed 200 people and is threatening other countries including China, according to The New York Times. The world may not be ready to tackle two mosquito diseases at once.

-MEDICARE MONEY — POLITICO reports: “The Obama administration is moving forward with controversial cuts to employer-based Medicare Advantage plans, but will phase them in over two years in order to ease the pain for insurers. The change in the payment formula will result in an estimated 2.5 percent cut to such plans, which account for nearly 20 percent of all private Medicare customers. CMS estimates that overall the 2017 payment policies finalized today will result in a 0.85 percent increase in payments. That's down from a 1.35 percent increase that CMS estimated when the initial proposal was released in February.” Read the rule here:

-NEW CMS RULES — The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services finalized policies for Medicare Part D plans aimed at the opioid overdose epidemic and high drug costs, according to POLITICO. “The agency is requiring insurers to put in place systems by 2018 that will reject claims for opioid prescriptions at the pharmacy for patients who have reached a threshold for the total amount of painkiller prescriptions they have filled.”

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from the Cleveland Clinic: “Starting a new exercise regimen? Start slow with a warm-up and stretching.”


-SUPPLY AND DEMAND — Demand for registered nurses in New York is expected to grow between 2015 and 2025, especially in long-term care settings, according to a recent report by the University at Albany's Center for Health Workforce Studies.

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here: 4/4, 4/1, 3/31, 3/30, 3/29

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