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POLITICO New York Health Care: The de Blasio plan; Legionnaires' update

Good morning! We've made some changes to this newsletter and our site today. Capital New York has now been renamed POLITICO New York and POLITICO Media. You'll still receive the same quality reporting and must-read newsletters each morning.

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written by Dan Goldberg

HERE’S THE DE BLASIO PLAN The homeless who exhibit violent behavior will receive new intensive treatment and attention from the city, one piece of a major initiative Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to announce this afternoon, as the administration tries to curb homelessness and improve services for the mentally ill. The plan would be closely modeled after a type of therapy already in use elsewhere, called Assertive Community Treatment [ACT], which relies on teams of mental health, social work and nursing professionals to provide 24-hour individualized mental health care services to people who aren’t responsive to traditional treatment and therapies. Part of the initiative includes deploying mobile response teams, who will seek out the homeless and mentally ill. And the city also plans to seek ways to better integrate the disparate agencies that interact with this group of people, including the NYPD, Human Resources Administration, and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. POLITICO New York’s Laura Nahmias has more: http://capi.tl/1gb4kZo

THE CONTEXT — One of the most persistent criticisms of de Blasio has been his lack of attention toward quality of life issues, specifically the growing number of homeless men and women on city streets. On Wednesday, a Quinnipiac poll showed 53 percent of city voters disapprove of how the mayor is handling poverty and homelessness compared to 36 percent who approve. That’s a harsh rebuke for a mayor who is staking his local and national reputation on the ability to fight inequality.

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HAPPENING TODAY — The de Blasio administration is hosting a roundtable this afternoon to discuss its strategy for the mentally ill, including the homeless population. The briefing had been scheduled for Wednesday but was delayed, according to Karen Hinton, spokeswoman for the mayor, because the administration “needed to finalize an aspect of the policy.” The city's plans, some of which were reported by the Wall Street Journal, will include a significant increase in funding for mentally ill homeless New Yorkers. The de Blasio administration is reportedly planning to spend $6 billion on a strategy to shift mentally ill homeless people into housing or mental health facilities to get them off of the city streets. That announcement is now scheduled to take place some time on Thursday, de Blasio's spokeswoman said.

LEGIONNAIRES’ UPDATE — Legionnaires' disease has claimed an eighth life and sickened about a dozen more people, according to the de Blasio administration. All eight were older individuals with previous medical conditions, which can be exacerbated by the bacterial infection.

NOW WE KNOW — Are you looking at your newborn and thinking you’ve made a terrible mistake? If so, you’re less likely to have a second child, according to a study from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, which found the effect is especially strong for mothers and fathers who are well educated and older. http://bit.ly/1KQBMSs

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 dgoldberg@politico.com.

COME TOGETHER Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center on Tuesday announced that Lehigh Valley Health Network would join the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance, which received its first member last September when Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute joined. http://bit.ly/1gKdGMC

WHAT WE’RE READING:

-IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS Margot Sanger-Katz explains that providing people with health insurance does not save the health system money. It might be good for people’s financial security, and there may be a moral argument in its favor, but it is not a cost saver despite President Obama’s assurances that the Affordable Care Act was smart economics. Even preventive medicine, one of the hallmarks of Obamacare, doesn’t save money in the long run. Why? “For the individual patient whose heart attack is prevented by a cholesterol screening, to give one example, that blood test is a cost-saver. But to prevent one heart attack, the health care system has to test hundreds of healthy people—and give about a hundred of them cholesterol-lowering drugs for at least five years. Added together, those prevention measures cost more than is saved on the one heart attack treatment.” http://nyti.ms/1gKcUix

-BANNED BUT NOT GONE — Reuters reports: “Hundreds of medical providers banned from a Medicaid program in one state are able to take part in another state's program despite regulations designed to stop them, according to a report by an independent federal auditor to be released on Wednesday. The continued participation of banned providers leaves state Medicaid programs for the poor and disabled vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse, according to the study, which says the problem reflects a struggle by states to communicate with one another.” http://reut.rs/1IIBpT7

-FAILURE TO LAUNCH — Kaiser Health News reports that the mental health parity law is not fulfilling its promise. “Seven years after Congress passed a landmark law banning discrimination in the treatment of mentally ill people, many families and their advocates complain it stubbornly persists, largely because insurers are subverting the law in subtle ways and the government is not aggressively enforcing it.” http://bit.ly/1MNrSBt

WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU'RE MISSING? Get a no-risk, two-week free trial to Capital Pro by emailing us at subscribe@capitalnewyork.com.

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from Governor Andrew Cuomo, who says, “Drive responsibly.” on.ny.gov/1K3VJPT

STUDY THIS:


-GUT FEELING
Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College explain the mechanism behind the gut’s ability to survive all those microbes that live inside us. According to an article in PNAS, this understanding may help people with inflammatory bowel disease. “We have to maintain gut health by protecting and repairing tissues like the intestine that are constantly exposed to environmental assaults—triggers such as food particles, microbes, pollutants, or things we might swallow—that happen every day,” senior investigator Dr. David Artis, director of the Jill Roberts Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease and the Michael Kors Professor of Immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College, said in a press release from WCMC. “We found one way these epithelial cells trigger the immune system to promote repair of the barrier that protects intestinal tissue from these constant assaults. http://bit.ly/1KQAYgr

-GROWING IN A DISH Researchers from the University at Buffalo grew human serotonin, the neurotransmitter involved in regulating mood, in a petri dish. http://bit.ly/1KQCJdi

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here: 8/5, 8/4, 8/3, 7/30, 7/29

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