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POLITICO New York Health Care: Cuomo administration withdraws Medicaid requests; Raju heads to Northwell

01/27/2017 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 Josefa Velasquez

WITHDRAWN - The Cuomo's administration withdrew its requests to provide Medicaid coverage for prison inmates and place newly diagnosed HIV patients on treatment. With the looming threat of cuts to Medicaid from Washington, the state's Department of Health said Thursday evening the state has "temporarily withdrawn" the waiver amendments and "will consider advancing them in the future. "We want to allow time for the state to have conversations with the new administration and to see where we may align on these issues," the DOH said in a statement.

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RAJU TO NORTHWELL - Ram Raju, the former president of New York City Health + Hospitals, is taking a position at Northwell Health where he will assess the health system's efforts to work with low-income communities. U-headed-to-northwell-health-109083

NOW WE KNOW - Copper bracelets and other folk remedies like magnetic straps are no more effective at treating arthritis than a placebo, the New York Times reports, citing a study published in PLOS One.

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--Westchester Medical Center Health Network received preliminary approval to become the active parent and co-operator of HealthAlliance, a Berger Commission creation that in 2009 combined The Kingston Hospital and Benedictine Hospital in Ulster County and Margaretville Hospital in Delaware County.

--PHHPC Committee on Establishment and Project Review also approved a request from Buffalo-based Kaleida Health to expand its footprint in Western New York. The committee on Thursday approved Kaleida's request to become the active parent of the Upper Allegheny Health System and to become the active parent and co-operator of the Olean General Hospital in Cattaraugus.

--Northwell Health received preliminary approval from the state to create a new company with a 15-member board to handle administrative matters for many of the hospitals under its umbrella. The new company, Northwell Quality and Medical Affairs, will have a separate governing board which will handle medical, graduate and allied health professional staff appointments and privileging for the hospitals.

--The committee approved Northwell Health's acquisition of a majority stake in the Melville Surgery Center, which specializes in general, gynecologic, ophthalmologic, orthopedic, plastic, podiatric, spine, urologic, chiropractic, pain management, and ear, nose and throat surgeries. Northwell purchases a 51 percent stake for just over $13 million.

--The committee also approved NYU Langone's application to become an active parent of Winthrop University Hospital.

SECURING MEDICAL MARIJUANA - State Sen. Diane Savino, one of the architects of the state's medical marijuana program, has written to President Donald Trump, asking that the federal government allow the state's program to continue.

SUING PHARMA - Newsday reports that Nassau County wants to hire a law firm for a possible suit against opioid manufacturers.

RING, RING - NY State of Health, the state's health plan marketplace, is receiving roughly 40,000 calls a day regarding the Affordable Care Act, the agency said.

SYSTEMIC PROBLEM - Systemic problems within the Administration for Children's Services, including inadequate staffing, supervision and training of case workers assigned to night, weekend and holiday shifts failed to prevent the death of 3-year-old Jaden Jorden last month, a report by the Department of Investigation has concluded in a report released Thursday.

WATER WORKS - The state Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Health will pay for 20 homes with private wells to connect to public water systems in Newburgh and New Windsor. Read more here:

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE - Improper Medicare payments went down in 2015. Overpayments totaled $350.6 million, far less than $2.3 billion in 2014, according to the Council for Medicare Integrity. Read more from the Albany Business Review here:

COMMUNITY SUPPORT - A plan to unite struggling Interfaith Medical Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant with three other Brooklyn hospitals received overwhelming support from community members and elected officials at a town-hall meeting, according to Crain's.

NEW CAPACITY - Roughly three months after opening an expanded outpatient center in a former Department of Motor Vehicles space in downtown Buffalo, Horizon Health Services, which provides treatment for substance abuse, is at near capacity.

MAN'S BEST FRIEND - It's flu season, but did you know your dog can also catch it? Scientist at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry have developed to vaccines for canine influenza.


-CLUSTER AMNESIA - STAT News reports: "Public Health officials on Thursday said they had detected a bizarre cluster of cases in which patients in Massachusetts developed amnesia over the past few years - a highly unusual syndrome that could be connected to opioid use."

-ACQUIRED - Johnson & Johnson announced a $30 billion deal to acquire Swiss biotechnology company Actelion in a bid to expand its drug portfolio to treat rare diseases, the New York Times reports:

-LOSING GROUND - The Wall Street Journal reports that Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. "cut its earnings guidance for the year as the drugmaker contends with dimmed prospects for its top cancer drug after major setbacks last year."


-OBAMACARE UPDATE - POLITICO reports "The Trump administration has pulled the plug on all Obamacare outreach and advertising in the crucial final days of the 2017 enrollment season, according to sources at Health and Human Services and on Capitol Hill. Even ads that had already been placed and paid for have been pulled, the sources told POLITICO."

-MERGER TALKS - Forbes reports that the CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance said the company is still in talks about merging with Rite Aid.

-HOMELESSNESS AS A MEDICAL CONDITION - A state senator from Hawaii, who is also an emergency room doctor, wants to classify homelessness as a medical condition.

-CAN WE RESCHEDULE? - POLITICO reports that the Food and Drug Administration was forced to cancel meetings on user fee legislation with Hill staffers due to the Trump administration's limitations on agency communications.

-YIKES - STAT News explores the flawed herpes testing that leads to false positives and the needless suffering for patients.

-HOW'S THAT? - After having blood work done at Lake Park Family Practice of Carolinas Healthcare System in North Carolina, Kristina Rodriguez noticed that "lesbianism" was listed under the medical "problem list."

-MAKING ROUNDS - Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the former HHS secretary, has been named the president of American University in Washington, D.C.

TODAY'S TIP - Comes from the state's Department of Health: "Ice fishing this weekend? Review the ice thickness table before heading out."


-LAYING IN WAIT - Mount Sinai researchers, writing in Nature Cell Biology, explain how primary tumors of head and neck and breast cancers pre-program cancer cells to become dormant and evade chemotherapy after spreading.

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