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POLITICO New York Health Care: Water quality meeting remains unscheduled -- SNAP recipients unlikely to access discounted Citi Bike membership -- PHHPC approves South Nassau Communities Hospital joining Mount Sinai

By Nick Niedzwiadek and Amanda Eisenberg | 07/20/2018 09:59 AM EDT

SNAP AND THE CITI — SNAP recipients who want to opt into the newly expanded discounted Citi Bike program may have problems accessing the service. Geographic and financial barriers are likely to hinder hundreds of thousands of SNAP recipients over the age of 16 from subscribing to a $5 monthly Citi Bike membership. The discount, which is already available to New York City Housing Authority residents, provides an unlimited number of 45-minute rides. But unlike NYCHA residents, who live in known neighborhoods, enrollees in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are dispersed across the city, according to data from the city's social services department. The city touted that this program will help improve the health of residents — the city's health commissioner said the program "is about more than increasing transportation options; it is also about improving the health of all New Yorkers" — yet has come up short on bringing stations to neighborhoods with a high volume of SNAP enrollees. Amanda has more here.

WHAT ABOUT DWQC? — Environmental advocates continue to wonder when the state will reschedule a meeting for a group tasked with recommending limits to emerging drinking water contaminants. A meeting was supposed to take place four months ago, but it was abruptly called off. Advocates note that New Jersey moved ahead months ago on setting strict "maximum contaminant limits" on such chemicals. "I'm confused as to why this is taking so long," said Kimberly Ong, a staff attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "We have contamination issues all across the state, and other states have already acted."

... The Drinking Water Quality Council, a body composed of state officials and outside experts, met three times between October and February to discuss potential maximum levels of PFOA, PFOS and 1,4-dioxane. The council was supposed to meet on March 19, but the meeting was canceled over "last-minute scheduling conflicts" from several members only hours before it was set to begin. More from Nick here.

— Related: Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's staff sought to protect him from exposure to toxic formaldehyde from an office desk last year, emails show — just months before his top political aides blocked the release of a report on health dangers from the same chemical. POLITICO's Annie Snider has more here.

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MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW Nick @NickNiedz, Amanda @aeis17 and Dan @DanCGoldberg on Twitter. And for all New Jersey health news, check out @samjsutton.

Catch all the highlights from Tuesday's Pro Summit. Video clips, event content and more are now available from a full day of incisive policy conversations. View Summit Highlights.

View the latest POLITICO/AARP poll to better understand Arizona voters over 50, a voting bloc poised to shape the midterm election outcome. Get up to speed on priority issues for Hispanic voters age 50+, who will help determine whether Arizona turns blue or stays red.

What role will Hispanic voters over 50 play in Arizona this fall? Read POLITICO Magazine's new series "The Deciders" which focuses on this powerful voting bloc that could be the determining factor in turning Arizona blue.

NOW WE KNOW — Or at least we think we know: more Americans are dying from cirrhosis and liver cancer since the Great Recession. Is it possible we're drinking ourselves to death?

PHHPC — An Oneida County surgery center's expansion plans hit a speed bump Thursday, when a review board elected not to recommend its approval amid opposition from nearby health systems. More from Nick here.

— The Establishment and Project Review committee recommended approval for South Nassau Communities Hospital's plan to join the Mount Sinai health system. The move paves the way for its approval by the full membership at its meeting scheduled for Aug. 2. As part of the agreement, Mount Sinai will pay $100 million to the hospital over five years for capital projects.

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SUNY — The board of trustees of the State University's construction fund approved about $9.5 million in new or updated projects today at its July meeting in Albany. The projects include $5.6 million to renovate the 10th floor of SUNY College of Optometry for a pediatric clinic. The board also increased the maximum cost of construction management services for projects at SUNY's Health Science Center at Stony Brook due to project delays. The increase — from $16 million to $16,842,498 — is for construction of a medical and research translation building, new beds and a support tower.

HOMICIDE SNUB — The Buffalo News reports: "The pathologist who performed an autopsy on the body of Erie County Holding Center inmate India Cummings says he's not inclined to rule her death a homicide, even though a state agency says it should be called a homicide due to medical neglect."

ASBESTOS ABOUNDS — The city warned residents to stay clear of the Flatiron District after a steam pipe exploded, which shot out asbestos. Read more here.

OVERWEIGHT — The Queens Chronicle reports that more New Yorkers are becoming obese and diabetic, along with dealing with depression and sleep issues. Read more here.

METHADONE — The furor over a methadone clinic in Amherst appears to have died down after Catholic Health moved the proposed location to an industrial office park and improved communication with the community. The clinic is set to open next month. Read more here.

LEGIONNAIRES SUIT — An NYPD officer filed an $11 million lawsuit against the city after he was diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease from bacteria at his station house. Read more here.

ACCREDITED — Mount Sinai's department of emergency medicine is the first in New York State to receive a geriatric emergency department accreditation from the American College of Emergency Physicians.


WHO'S TO BLAME — Bloomberg reports: "Two pharmaceutical companies say the real culprits in the opioids epidemic are illegal dealers of the painkillers and want them to be on the hook financially for any damages potentially assessed against drugmakers." Read more here.

MAKE A CASE — Stateline makes the case for anti-anxiety medication causing the next addiction crisis. Read it here.

GLOBALISM FOR DRUGS ONLY — STAT News reports: "The Trump administration is opening up the door to importing prescription drugs — at least in a limited number of cases." Read more here.


UNWORKABLE — President Donald Trump handed an influential business advocacy group what should have been a historic lobbying victory when he recently rolled out new rules encouraging small businesses to band together to offer health insurance. Trump, who's touted the expansion of so-called association health plans as a key plank in his strategy to tear down Obamacare, even announced the rules at the 75th anniversary party of the National Federation of Independent Business last month, claiming the group's members will save "massive amounts of money" and have better care if they join forces to offer coverage to workers. But the NFIB, which vigorously promoted association health plans for two decades, now says it won't set one up, describing the new Trump rules as unworkable. Read more from POLITICO here.

SODA TAX — Philadelphia's soda tax was upheld by the state's highest court, reports The Associated Press.

BE YOUR OWN DOCTOR — The New York Times reports: "To rein in emergency medicine costs, Anthem is reviving an old, contentious tactic: pushing back on patients who visit the emergency room for ailments deemed minor. Anthem denied thousands of claims last year under its "avoidable E.R. program," according to a sample of emergency room bills analyzed by the American College of Emergency Physicians. The program, which Anthem has been rolling out in a handful of states in recent years, reviews claims based on the final diagnosis of patients." Read more here.

TURN BACK TIME — The country is slowly returning to a pre-ACA landscape, and The Wall Street Journal has a nifty chart to show what that looks like.

GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR HIV UP 16 PERCENT — A joint report from the Kaiser Family Foundation and UNAIDS shows funding from donor governments for HIV programs in low- and middle-income countries increased 16 percent from $7 billion in 2016 to $8.1 billion in 2017. The report says the bump primarily stems from the timing of U.S. funding and "is not expected to last." See the full report here.

WEED WATCH — The Oklahoma Attorney General accused the state's board of health of overstepping boundaries with several of its emergency rules on medical marijuana, reports The Associated Press. Read more here.

PED PANIC — The abuse of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs is viewed as a stain on baseball, throwing uncertainty around the hall of fame candidacies of generational talents like Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds. Then again, maybe it wasn't so bad. "Today, the PED panic looks more and more like the last gasp of a fading generational outrage, an emotional outburst and response to an increasingly wonkish and data-driven world: It feels more like Baby Boomers pounding their fists angry that it's not 1961 anymore and athletes are not powered by Ovaltine the way they were told when they were 12," writes Will Leitch for New York magazine.

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which says that immersion in water in the first stage of labor may help shorten the duration of labor.


AGING GAY — The LGBTQ community is becoming more visible, yet has many unmet health care needs in old age, according to a new study published in the Public Policy & Aging Report. Read it here.

POSITIVE CORRELATION — The more patients trust that health care providers are taking care of their data, the more likely they are to positively rate their care, according to a new study from the University at Albany's business school. Read it here.

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