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written by Dan Goldberg
NEW VACCINE RULES — State health officials announced Thursday new vaccine rules for school children. Children in New York schools must now receive two doses of the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine, according to a press release from the state's Department of Health. Children in grades K-5 need five doses of DTaP, and children entering kindergarten and grades 1,6 and 7 must have four doses of polio vaccine. Previously, kindergarteners were allowed to attend school before completing the MMR DTaP and polio vaccine series. The new regulations follow recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an advisory group to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://on.ny.gov/1KoidQh
…Around the nation, kindergarteners were more likely than ever before to be vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On average, about 1.7 percent of children who entered kindergarten in the 2014-15 school year had a vaccine exemption, with individual state exemption levels ranging from less than 0.1 percent in Mississippi to 6.5 percent in Idaho. http://1.usa.gov/1KoijHJ
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COMBATING VETERAN HOMELESSNESS — City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced a $940,000 initiative on Thursday to support veteran homeless prevention, job placement, legal and mental health services. http://bit.ly/1PVXpjh
NOW WE KNOW — Want to have a better sex life? Researchers, presenting at the 110th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, suggest splitting the child care duties.
The study found that when women were responsible for most or all of the child care, men and women reported lower quality relationships and sex lives compared to couples that split childcare responsibilities. When fathers handle most of the child care, they have just as much sex but enjoy it less, while the women in those relationships reported having the highest quality sex lives. This study did not count feeding or bathing the children as part of child care. http://lat.ms/1KoeVwh
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MEDICAL MARIJUANA TROUBLE — Across the state, medical marijuana companies continue to face hurdles. Newsday reports that Riverhead is considering a one-year moratorium on dispensaries, which would be a problem for ColumbiaCare, which is slated to open one in the Suffolk County town. http://nwsdy.li/1hJ4rgc And WGRZ reported on concerns in upstate New York. http://on.wgrz.com/1hJ4BEp
INTERESTING PUBLIC HEALTH IDEA — Julie Netherland, deputy director of the New York policy office at the Drug Policy Alliance, told the Huffington Post that New York should consider creating public spaces for supervised heroin injection. “Countries around the world have opened supervised injection facilities [SIF] to address the kinds of public health and safety problems so poignantly illustrated in [the new film] 'Everywhere But Safe.' It’s time for New York to follow the science and implement evidence-based strategies, such as SIFs, that can save lives." http://huff.to/1fJ2zlI
...This won’t happen any time soon but it is interesting to consider, from a public health incentive, whether it would encourage more or less heroin use.
LICH SAGA — The community fight over a proposed development at the site of the former Long Island College Hospital is getting personal. The Cobble Hill Association, which represents the neighborhood of the proposed project, is considering ousting its acting president, Roy Sloane, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. http://bit.ly/1U8D93G
DENTAL CLINIC — Newsday writes about a dental clinic funded by Project Renewal’s Health Services program. The program is funded by a $2.5 million federal grant. About 55 percent of its patients are Medicaid recipients. http://nwsdy.li/1Jmlawy
HHC’S ACO — The Accountable Care Organization belonging to the city's public hospital system saw a 6 percent reduction in its benchmark Medicare costs in 2014, saving taxpayers $7.1 million. ACOs are established when hospitals, physicians and other providers, work together to treat a particular population. The ACO belonging to the Health and Hospitals Corporation was one of 350 nationwide that combined to save Medicare $411 million in 2014, and one of the few public hospital-led ACOs to produce savings. HHC will keep $2.6 million of the $7.1 million it saved Medicare.
DON’T DO THAT — The Associated Press reports: “Four people connected to two clinics in Queens have pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit health care fraud in connection to more than $4 million in false Medicare claims. Federal authorities announced the guilty pleas on Thursday. They accused the defendants of putting in claims to Medicare from December 2010 through June 2013 for physical therapy, occupational therapy and chiropractic services that either weren’t medically needed, not provided, or didn’t qualify for reimbursement. The four face prison terms of up to 10 years at sentencing, as well as having to pay restitution.” http://bit.ly/1KogpGN
PAYING FOR HEALTH — Crain’s takes a look at how different medical providers are trying to keep patients well instead of waiting for them to become ill. http://bit.ly/1U8ven7
GRANT LAND — Twenty-six academic medical centers will split $17.2 million in state funds dedicated to biomedical research, according to a press release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office. The two-year awards are administered by the Empire Clinical Research Investigator Program, which aims to increase New York's profile as a hub for biomedical research. A list of recipients can be seen here: http://on.ny.gov/1JmjnYj
PHARMA REPORT: The Food and Drug Administration has approved Repatha, an Amgen drug that lowers cholesterol. This is the second approved PCSK9 inhibitor, a drug for people who are not responding to traditional statins. The New York Times has more: http://nyti.ms/1Koe133
WHAT WE’RE READING:
-YOUR WEEKEND READ — America’s prisoners are aging. So what are states supposed to do as their prisons become nursing homes? “In 2013, about 10 percent of the nation’s prison inmates — or 145,000 people — were 55 or older. By 2030, the report said, one-third of all inmates will be over 55.” http://bit.ly/1JmnuUi
-DUMPSTER DIVING BEHIND ABORTION CLINICS — Charles Ornstein looks at the abortion opponents who dig through the trash in search of patient information. “Using garbage as their ammunition, anti-abortion activists — who have sometimes been accused of violating abortion seekers’ privacy — are turning the tables. They claim it’s the clinics that are violating patients’ privacy by discarding medical records in unsecured ways.” http://bit.ly/1U8vG4T
-THE BIG QUESTION — Paula Span asks who is going to coordinate all the coordinators? It’s an important question now that we have case managers, care managers, care coordinators, patient navigators or facilitators and health coaches. http://nyti.ms/1U8vmTL
-REWRITING THE RULES — The federal government is proposing to rewrite the rules on the 340b drug discount program. What the government wants to do is tighten controls on which patients, drugs and providers qualify for the deep manufacturer discounts. POLITICO’s Brett Norman has more: http://politico.pro/1KoeuCn [PRO]
-WHAT KAREN DESALVO HEARD — The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology spent more than $12,000 last summer for health IT czar Karen DeSalvo to travel across the country on a “listening tour” during which she gathered feedback from doctors and hospitals on electronic records and the government’s role in managing them, according to POLITICO. Reah here what she learned: http://politico.pro/1VdKxrI [PRO]
-WHAT IF IT’S ALL A MIRAGE? — Bloomberg News reports that the lower hospital readmissions rates may just be a billing gimmick that increases costs to patients. “To dodge hefty penalties from Medicare for repeat admissions, hospitals increasingly shunt returning patients to emergency rooms or classify them as “observation stays,” which put patients on the hook for more of the bill, according to an analysis published in Health Affairs Blog.” http://bloom.bg/1U8v13b
-FIGHT FOR FEET — The Associated Press reports: “Famous people don’t often get involved with Medicare payment policy, but a Boston Marathon bombing survivor and a former U.S. senator who lost a leg in wartime service have joined an industry campaign to block new requirements for artificial legs and feet. Medicare’s mounting cost for those items in the last 10 years — even as the number of amputees was declining — has prompted scrutiny from government investigators. Now, Medicare’s billing contractors are proposing closer medical supervision of the independent technicians who sell and fit artificial limbs, as well as tighter rules for beneficiaries to qualify for high-tech devices that can cost as much as a car. The proposal is technical, but the industry says it will translate to diminished quality of life for beneficiaries at risk of being denied the latest technological advances.” http://wapo.st/1EmpQpD
-ICD-10 REPORT — POLITICO reports: “Less than two percent of test ICD-10 claims sent to CMS in late July were rejected because of an invalid code, CMS said [Thursday]. The overall acceptance rate was 87 percent, roughly the same as other end-to-end testing weeks in January and April.” http://go.cms.gov/1U8GG2f
-LOOKING UP — Modern Healthcare reports: “For the first time since 2008, credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service upgraded the outlook on not-for-profit hospitals to stable from negative.” http://bit.ly/1JmmWxz
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TODAY'S TIP — Comes from Montefiore Health System: “Prevent belly bloat w/these helpful tips.” http://mmcny.org/1ML0WRy
-RECOGNITION — Finally, a British singer who has gone under the radar for far too long, is receiving some much deserved recognition from the science community. James Thomas named a new species of crustacean L. eltoni after Sir Elton John, according to an article in ZooKeys. "I have listened to his music in my lab during my entire scientific career," the lead author said in a press release accompanying the article. "So, when this unusual crustacean with a greatly enlarged appendage appeared under my microscope after a day of collecting, an image of the shoes Elton John wore as the Pinball Wizard came to mind." http://bit.ly/1VdEWBG
-WHY YOUR SISTER IS FAT? — Firstborn women are more likely to be overweight and obese as adults than their younger sisters, according to a study in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. Unfortunately for this eldest male child, the findings are also true for men. http://bit.ly/1VdHXSJ
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