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POLITICO New York Health Care: Consequence of new definition; MSSNY promotion

10/11/2016 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

NEW DEFINITION - Larry Lee is executive director at the New York Asian Women's Center, a Manhattan-based nonprofit that helps women overcome domestic violence. In 2015, it cost $508,748 to provide health insurance to his employees. In 2016, however, his health insurance cost jumped nearly 24 percent to $629,763, an unaffordable surge for a nonprofit where revenue exceeded expenses by less than $100,000 in 2013 and 2014, the most recent years for which IRS filings are available. The reason for the price increase is that Lee's nonprofit went from purchasing large group insurance to purchasing small group insurance. His business didn't change; the law did. I took a look at what changing the definition of small group has meant for one employer.

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NEWBURGH OUTREACH FIZZLES - Tens of thousands of Newburgh residents have likely been drinking a toxic chemical for years, and possibly decades, but there are no state or federal plans to conduct the sort of expansive outreach public health experts say is necessary to encourage local residents to get their blood levels checked to determine their level of health risk. POLITICO New York's Scott Waldman has more:

NOW WE KNOW - A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a Rutgers University study that said there is no such thing as a five-second rule. That's because bacteria can glom onto food pretty quickly. But it turns out there are lots of places in your kitchen more gross than the floor, which is why Dr. Aaron Carroll says he eats off his floor.

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GOT TO GO TO MOE'S - Moe Auster, who had previously served as vice president for legislative and regulatory affairs at the Medical Society of the State of New York, has been promoted to senior vice president for legislative and regulatory affairs. Auster joined MSSNY in 1998 as counsel in the division of governmental affairs. According to a press release from MSSNY, he began his career as associate counsel in the Assembly majority leader's office.

MOVING ON - The Daily News reports: "City investigators have cleared over 100 criminal probes at city hospitals after many languished for years without ever being reviewed, the Daily News has learned."

LACK OF ACCESS - As the number of long-term health care facilities in Manhattan has declined over the past decade, Lower Manhattan has been hit the hardest by a string of closures, according to

OPINION - Dr. Ken Davis, CEO of Mount Sinai, a psychiatrist, has an op-ed in Forbes calling for higher reimbursement rates for mental health practitioners.

GRANT LAND - The Community Healthcare Network received an award of $180,000 from the Ira W. DeCamp Foundation. The money will be used to evaluate and then implement improvements in the clinical operations of CHN's health centers as they relate to patient experience, according to a press release.


-THE FIRST OF MANY? - Partner Fund Management LP, a San Francisco-based hedge fund, is suing Theranos, accusing the troubled company of misleading investors. "Through a series of lies, material misstatements, and omissions, the defendants engaged in securities fraud and other violations by fraudulently inducing PFM to invest and maintain its investment in the company," says the letter, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.


-CHOLERA EXPLOSION - Reuters reports: "Less than a week since Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti, killing at least 1,000 people according to a tally of numbers from local officials, devastated corners of the country are facing a public health crisis as cholera gallops through rural communities lacking clean water, food and shelter."

-CONFLICTING - The New York Times reports on a study published Monday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, which showed how the beverage industry was funding public health as part of a strategy to silence health critics and gain unlikely allies against soda regulations. "The study's authors, Michael Siegel, a professor at the Boston University school of public health, and Daniel Aaron, a student at Boston University's medical school, scoured public records including news releases, newspaper databases, lobbying reports, the medical literature and information released by the beverage giants themselves.

... When New York proposed a ban on extra-large sodas in 2012, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics cited "conflicting research" and didn't support the effort. The academy accepted $525,000 in donations from Coke in 2012. The following year it took a $350,000 donation from the company. The academy said it no longer has a sponsorship relationship with the beverage firms."

-THE DEBATE - During the presidential debate on Sunday night Donald Trump explained that he'd like to see health insurance companies be able to sell plans across state lines. Bruce Jaspen, writing in Forbes, explains why that probably won't help.

TODAY'S TIP - Comes from the Cleveland Clinic: "Congrats, you've kicked your soda habit. But if you've just replaced it with diet, you've created new problems."


-PLAN B FOR BLADDER CANCER - Injections of pembrolizumab shrank tumors by at least one-third in 24 percent of patients, according to a clinical trial led by NYU Langone researchers who presented their findings at the European Society for Medical Oncology's annual conference. The patients in the study had bladder cancer and were unable to handle cisplatin, the typical treatment.

-TRANSFORMERS - An overactive gene appears to cause some prostate cancers to transform from a typical tumor type to a much more aggressive form of the disease, according to researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine writing in Cancer Cell. The gene, N-Myc, is rare in prostate cancers but appears to cause adenocarcinoma to turn to neuroendocrine prostate cancer.

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