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POLITICO New York Health Care: Health effects of Coke emissions; Shorris to testify on Rivington

09/27/2016 10:00 AM EDT

Good morning! You are reading a complimentary synopsis of the POLITICO New York Pro Health Care newsletter. Pro subscribers receive a premium version of this newsletter, which includes an enhanced look-ahead and robust analysis of the health care news driving the day, weekdays at 5:45 a.m. Contact us here to learn more.

written by Dan Goldberg

COKE PROBLEM - A new multi-year study will examine how emissions from the Tonawanda Coke factory in Buffalo affected the health of area residents and employees. The $11.4 million study will be conducted by researchers at the University at Buffalo and is part of a court settlement requiring Tonawanda Coke to fund a health assessment. The company was convicted of violating the federal Clean Air Act and must also pay $700,000 to support an air and soil study of the surrounding environment. "This is a unique opportunity to increase our understanding of the role that industrial exposures may have on health within communities," said Matthew Bonner, a UB associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health. "We are hopeful that we will be able to bring additional clarity to some of the concerns that community members have expressed about health effects."

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NO GOOD DEED - First deputy mayor Tony Shorris will testify at what is expected to be a long and contentious City Council hearing on one of the biggest snafus of Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration: the city-enabled sale of a nursing home to a luxury condo builder, which yielded the seller a $72 million profit. Shorris' planned attendance at the hearing on Thursday, confirmed by spokesman Eric Phillips, will mark the highest-profile public airing of the controversy surrounding the sale of Rivington House on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

NOW WE KNOW - The five-second rule will not protect you from the gross stuff on the floor, according to intrepid scientists at Rutgers University, writing in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

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WHAT'S IN THE WATER? - A class action lawsuit has been filed against the company that polluted water supplies in sburgh. Weitz & Luxenberg filed the suit against Taconic Plastics, claiming the company improperly disposed of PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, in its manufacturing operations for years.

GRANT LAND - The National Institutes of Health awarded funding for a research network devoted to the adolescents and young adults with HIV or at risk for HIV infection. Among the recipients was Dr. Jeffrey T. Parsons, distinguished professor of psychology and director of the Hunter College Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training and his colleagues, Dr. Sylvie Naar and Dr. Bonita Stanton who received $15.7 million.

MAKING ROUNDS - Dr. Leonardo Huertas has been named chairman of emergency medicine at Huntington Hospital. Huertas had been chairman of emergency medicine at Glen Cove Hospital.

COMING SOON - Northwell Health is hosting a breast health discussion on Saturday. Topics include: 3D Mammography; Breast Ultrasound and MRI and Dense Breasts.

ACROSS THE RIVER - The president and CEO of Princeton HealthCare System said affiliation discussions with Penn Medicine are "going well" at a meeting of the board of directors Monday evening. Barry Rabner said he hopes the two institutions will be able to discuss a definitive agreement by Princeton HealthCare's next board meeting which is scheduled for November.


-THE SUM OF ITS PARTS - Pfizer isn't splitting and that might be a good thing, according to Bloomberg News.

-DOING THE MATH - The Wall Street Journal had a great scoop Monday, pointing out that when Mylan CEO Heather Bresch said the company's profit on a two-pack of Epi-Pen was $100, she was being disingenuous. That $100 is post corporate taxes. Taxes are what you pay on profits. It also assumes Mylan is paying a 37.5 percent rate, something analysts consider unlikely, according to the Journal.


-THE DEBATE - Maybe the candidates can talk more about health care during the next debate.

-THE OTHER DEBATE - Kaiser Health News looks at the fluoride debate in seven cities across the United States.

...Our own Addy Baird examined that debate in New York earlier this year.

-PREPARING FOR THE UNKNOWN - The New York Times looks at how physicians are preparing for "Zika babies." Here's the sad problem. There is so much we do not know that no one can say what to expect.

-DON'T DO THAT - The Wall Street Journal looked at a report from the ECRI Institute, which showed some very disturbing patient record mishaps. For example, one patient in cardiac arrest was mistakenly not resuscitated because clinicians confused him with a patient who had a do-not-resuscitate order. Then there was the case of a patient who underwent surgery based on a different patient's records and was found dead in his hospital room the next day. "The report analyzed 7,613 cases of so-called wrong-patient errors at 181 health-care organizations from January 2013 to July 2015. The cases were submitted voluntarily, under a federal law that lets providers share safety data without fear of liability, and probably represent only a fraction of the mix-ups that occurred, ECRI officials said." Read the Journal article here: Read the ECRI report here:

TODAY'S TIP - Comes from Community Healthcare Network Chief Medical Officer Matthew Weissman, "For chronic pain, there are many options besides, or in addition to, medication. Explore relaxation breathing, yoga, meditation, acupuncture and other integrative techniques."


-CROWDSOURCED - A study in Nature Communications explains how researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai crowdsourced the annotation and analysis of a large number of gene expression profiles from the National Center for Biotechnology Information's Gene Expression Omnibus. Why does that matter? Say genetic data was used to prove (or disprove) a hypothesis for one study. That data may be useful for testing a completely different hypothesis if it is combined with a separate data set. Read more here:

-HAILING THE CHIEF - The National Academy of Medicine announced Monday the Vital Directions for Health and Health Care initiative. Experts on aging produced a report titled, "Viewpoint: Preparing for Better Health and Health Care for an Aging Population," for The Journal of the American Medical Association, which offers advice to the next President on issues of care for the aging.

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