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POLITICO New York Health Care: FIDA's low numbers; Sugary drink ban

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written by Dan Goldberg

FIDA ENROLLMENT TROUBLE — The state's ambitious plan to improve the care for some of Medicaid's costliest patients isn't too popular with New Yorkers. Seven months into the initiative, the Fully Integrated Duals Advantage (FIDA) program has enrolled about 7,700 people, while 54,287 others have opted out. The state is automatically enrolling the 700,000 "dual eligibles" but recipients may opt-out. It's still early, and there is plenty of time for the numbers to improve. But there are reasons for concern. Insurance companies, which have created these new networks, did so on the assumption they'd have enough customers to justify their costs. That hasn't happened, though insurance executives believe these are just the labor pains of a new program. The trouble, right now however, is there isn't a compelling reason for the numbers to change. People are opting out because they don't see a benefit in being enrolled. The state's premise is that individuals will receive better care, but if a patient is satisfied with the care they receive, with the doctors they see, then there is very little incentive to jump through a new set of hoops. The state's health department did not respond to a request for comment on the numbers or its view of the program. Read my full story here:

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TOO SWEET — Assemblyman Matthew Titone, a Staten Island Democrat, says sugar is dangerous and New Yorkers are likely consuming far more than they realize because foods and drinks aren't labeled in a way that is easy to understand. Titone's package of legislation would prohibit the sale of 16-ounce sugary drinks to children, and also require a warning label on foods and beverages with approximately 40 grams of sugar. The state Department of Health would determine the phrasing of the label. The American Heart Association recommends most men consume no more than 37 to 45 grams of sugar in a day, and most women consume no more than 25 grams. A 16-ounce. bottle of Coca-Cola has 52 grams of sugar. A 20-ounce Vitamin Water has 32 grams of sugar. "If the industry can come up with a reasonable rationale as to why minors ought to be over-consuming sugars, I'm willing to listen but the burden is on them to explain to the public why they want to be able to sell this unhealthy addictive product to children," Titone said. Read my full story here:

NOW WE KNOW — A woman’s sexuality may be more flexible than a man’s, according to research scheduled to be presented at the 110th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association. Study author Elizabeth Aura McClintock, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame, looked at more than 9,000 women as they moved from adolescence to adulthood, and found they were more likely than men to report bisexuality, while men were more likely to report being either "100 percent heterosexual" or "100 percent homosexual." "Women have a greater probability than men of being attracted to both men and women, which gives them greater flexibility in partner choice," McClintock said in a press release accompanying the article. Interestingly, women with more education and women who were more physically attractive had higher probabilities of identifying as "100 percent heterosexual.” A higher-level of education in men correlated to a lower likelihood of identifying as “100 percent heterosexual.”

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FINANCES — New York Methodist Hospital reported an operating gain of $41 million for the first six months of the year, a slight improvement over the same period in 2014. Year-over-year revenue increased 4.1 percent to $443 million, while expenses increased 4.4 percent to $402 million, according to the most recently filed financial report. Read the full report here.

MORE FINANCES The Syracuse Post Standard reports: “Upstate University Hospital made a profit of $5 million during the first six months of 2015, according to unaudited financial results.

Upstate attributed the profit to strong growth in clinical services, expense management, shorter inpatient lengths of stay, improved collections and a reduction in bad-debt write-offs. The hospital generated revenue of $429.9 million during the first half of the year, up from $376.8 million for the same period last year. That represents a 14 percent increase.”

ASKING THE VA — The New York State Academy of Family Physicians is calling for New York-based Veterans Affairs hospitals to participate in the iSTOP program, which is meant to curb prescription fraud and abuse. In a letter sent Tuesday to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the family physicians say the VA represents a loophole that should be closed. [PRO]

LEGIONNAIRES’ Two more people have come down with Legionnaires’ disease but city officials say it is not related to the recent outbreak in the Bronx.


-INTERESTING THEORY A physician believes the increasing number of head lice cases she is seeing is caused by teenages putting their heads together for all those selfie-photos.

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TODAY'S TIP — Comes from Montefiore Health System, which offers five tips to ensure a healthy baby.


-NEVER FORGET Holocaust survivors pass on trauma through their genes, making their children and possibly even grandchildren more susceptible to PTSD and other stress disorders, according to research reported on in The Guardian. These genetic changes could also put them at increased risk of obesity and hypertension, according to the research published in Scientific American.

-LINKED — HealthDay reports: “People with psoriasis may be twice as likely to experience depression as those without the common skin condition, regardless of its severity, a new study suggests. ‘Psoriasis in general is a pretty visible disease,’ said study author Dr. Roger Ho, an assistant professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine in New York City. ‘Psoriasis patients are fearful of the public's stigmatization of this visible disease and are worried about how people who are unfamiliar with the disease may perceive them or interact with them.’"

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