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POLITICO New York Health Care: DSRIP upstate; Cuomo promises support on Zadroga

Dear readers: POLITICO New York Pro subscribers receive this email at 5:30 a.m. each weekday. If you'd like to receive it at that time, along with a customized real-time news feed of New York health care policy news throughout the day, please contact us at and we'll set you up for trial access.

written by Dan Goldberg

EXAMINING DSRIP UPSTATE — POLITICO New York’s Josefa Velasquez looks at the specific challenges Performing Provider Systems in upstate New York face, and how they plan to meet those challenges. Unlike New York City and Long Island, where Performing Provider Systems — teams of hospitals that have paired with health care providers, community-based providers and long-term facilities — are closer in proximity and public transportation is more readily available, PPS in the upstate region face the difficulty of serving Medicaid patients through multiple counties, which may serve urban pockets as well as rural regions. Aside from the vast geographical coverage, upstate PPS also have the challenge of serving a Medicaid community that is generally older, suffers from chronic illness and a more acute shortage of health care providers.

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NO REST — Appearing with Vice President Joe Biden last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would “not rest” until Congress renewed the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act, which provides health care and other benefits to first-responders of the 2001 attack. Earlier this month, members of New York’s congressional delegation, who were instrumental in the passage of the legislation, also called for the renewal of the law.

NOW WE KNOW — There is a lot of cheering in the press box, according to a study in PLOS One, which finds sports reporters assigned to specific teams have unrealistic expectations about how well their team will perform. Reporters assigned to teams were asked to predict their win total. When the so-called expert predictions were compared with the real 2014 results, they were found to be no better than predicting each team will replicate their previous year's performance.

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EDITORIAL COMMENT — The New York Times editorial board praised the city’s Board of Health for introducing new warning labels on menu items that contain more than the daily limit of sodium. The same editorial harshly criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio and the board for repealing the consent forms required for metzitzah b’peh, the circumcision ritual in which a mohel suctions the blood from the wounded penis. “The decision to cave to the mohels is being spun by the administration as a win-win for everybody, but it seems to have closed its eyes to the newborn boys who will someday get sick.”

OPINION — Debra Friedman, president and CEO of Health Republic Insurance of New York, weighs in on the consolidation debate with an op-ed in Morning Consult. “There are certainly scenarios where consolidation can make sense — theoretically improving efficiencies or strengthening care coordination — but generally consolidation results in less choice and higher costs for consumers.”

NIAGARA FALLS — The Niagara Gazette has an exhaustive look at how Niagara County has improved its health rankings relative to other counties in New York. Niagara County has reached 55th out of 62 in the Health Outcomes and 43rd of 62 in Health Factors.


-SILENCED — A POLITICO investigation found some of the biggest firms marketing electronic record systems inserted “gag clauses” in their contracts, effectively forbidding health care providers from talking about glitches that slow their work and potentially jeopardize patients. And taxpayers are on the hook because we subsidized many of these systems. POLITICO obtained 11 contracts through public records requests including those from hospitals in New York City. “The New York City Department of Health’s agreement with eClinicalWorks gives the department the explicit right to disseminate information and does not appear to bar employees from publicizing confidential information. The Department ‘had a very strong negotiating position,’ said Farzad Mostashari, who was working for them at the time.”

-WHAT WILL JERRY BROWN DO? — The California state Legislature has passed an assisted suicide bill Gov. Jerry Brown has not yet said whether he will sign. The Catholic Church is among the strongest opponents of the bill. Brown is a Jesuit who studied to be a priest, and the Pope, also a Jesuit, is about to come to the United States. Will that sway Brown? “Whenever there is a matter involving life and death and the state is involved in it one way or another, I do think that Jerry Brown’s fundamental theological underpinnings go all the way back to his days as a Jesuit seminarian,” Garry South, a longtime Democratic strategist, told POLITICO. “I don’t think that you can separate the Gov. Jerry Brown of today from his early life as a Jesuit seminarian.”

ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot write about the struggle of Blue Water Navy veterans to be compensated for illnesses they say were caused by Agent Orange exposure. Co-author Charles Ornstein explains: “The story explores a group of veterans who served off the coast of Vietnam during the war and who maintain that they were exposed to the toxic chemical brew that has caused illnesses among many vets. If they served in the Army or even certain Air Force units, they would be eligible for compensation but because they served at sea, they are not. Interestingly, the reason comes down to one comma.”

-DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS — NPR looks at how doctors are being taught to have conversations with patients regarding the cost of care.

TODAY'S TIP Comes from fat dad who offers tips on how to have a vegetarian Rosh Hashana. Happy New Year!


-OUTBREAK — NYU researchers say there have been several outbreaks of sexually transmitted hepatitis C among HIV-positive men who have sex with men. The researchers at NYU's Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR) at the College of Nursing (NYUCN) published their work in AIDS.

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