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written by Josefa Velasquez
ENDORSEMENT — New York’s largest union announced on Thursday it will endorse City Council candidate Barry Grodenchik. 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East announced their support of Grodenchik, who won the Democratic nomination for the 23rd council district race in a crowded primary earlier this month. Grodenchik is running to replace former councilman Mark Weprin, who stepped down earlier this year to take a job in Cuomo administration.
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ARRESTED— William Davis, the former owner of Davis Ethical Pharmacy in Rockville Centre, was arrested Thursday and charged with bilking the state out of $242,000 in medical claims fraud, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced. He charged with second-degree grand larceny after authorities say he sent fraudulent prescription records for reimbursement to Medicaid and the state’s Health Insurance Program, also known as NYSHIP, from 2008 through 2011, DiNapoli's office said. The allegedly phony claims were uncovered by two audits done by his office. Read the audits here: http://bit.ly/1LAs0U3 and http://bit.ly/1KCf8HP
NOW WE KNOW—Higher exposure to phthalates found in soft plastics—like wallpaper, sandals, nail polish, perfume, floors and carpets— lower sperm mobility and may result in men having difficulties conceiving, a Lund University study found. http://bit.ly/1YEpUrj
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MAKE SURE YOU READ — Bloomberg’s piece on Physicians’ Reciprocal Insurers (PRI). “The story of PRI, which has the second-biggest share of the state’s $1.6 billion malpractice-insurance market, shows how machinations in the capital directly affect New York residents. The company, though not charged with a crime, is at the center of allegations against former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who federal prosecutors say used his influence with the firm to secure a job for his son. New York hasn’t completed or released its most recent review of PRI, which was conducted in 2009, according to the company. Martin Schwartzman, who retired from the Department of Financial Services in April as a senior adviser to the insurance superintendent, says Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration is trying to hide damaging information.” http://bloom.bg/1L0Ekho
SHORT READ — The North Shore-LIJ Health System today was named as a Palliative Care Leadership Center.
The New York State Department of Health has approved the Columbia Combined Cancer Panel, part of the Laboratory of Personalized Genomic Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. http://bit.ly/1FwADxM
SYRACUSE SYPHILIS SURGE— ACR Health will be holding 10-minute syphilis screenings throughout the Central New York region after a 14-fold increase in the sexually transmitted disease between 2000 and 2014. Most cases, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard, are amongst gay and bisexual men. The finger prick test will be offered at ACR clinics, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and drug treatment centers. http://bit.ly/1FxcruZ
DON’T DO THAT— Roughly one in 10 pregnant women admit to drinking alcohol in the previous month, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One in 33 acknowledged at least one episode of binge drinking. http://lat.ms/1KF5LrI
PHARMA REPORT: The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals have announced a research partnership that will provide Sinai researchers the tools and capital to study fully-human antibodies directed at therapeutic targets. Regeneron offers the Experiment Therapeutics Institute — a part of Icahn — access to Veloclmmune, a genetic engineering tool that allows researchers to create fully-human monoclonal antibodies for drug development. The researchers offer Regeneron an exclusive option to negotiate a license to the antibody if it is found fit for clinical use.
-WHERE THE MONEY GOES — Merck and Amgen were among the biggest contributors to trade associations last year, according to a new database from the Center for Political Accountabilities. Here's the database; http://bit.ly/1OwGJBd.
WHAT WE’RE READING:
THE PROBLEM IS IT IS WORKING — Realclearpolitics.com writes that while the 40 percent excise tax on expensive health plans is unpopular with both Democrats and Republicans, it is forcing management and labor to behave exactly the way the law’s crafters hoped. http://bit.ly/1Vb8Ee3
...Senator Bernie Sanders, who is running for President, and Senator Chuck Schumer are among the several Democrats who are sponsoring a bill to repeal the so-called Cadillac tax. Why? Unions, a traditional Democrat constituency, do not want their generous health benefits taxed. http://bit.ly/1R4roGn
HEALTH INSURANCE FOR UNDOCUMENTED — Contra Costa County, which is east of San Francisco, joined 46 other California counties that have agreed to provide non-emergency care to undocumented immigrants, NPR reports. Under the Affordable Care Act, undocumented adults aren’t able to take part in state health exchanges, but they can get emergency care. While the program approved by the county won’t be full-blown health insurance, it will provide preventative care in the hopes of cutting down emergency room visits, which then in turn saves the county money. http://n.pr/1WlHCOf
DOCTORS HAVE FEELINGS TOO— The Atlantic details the complicated relationships between patients and their doctors. Two studies surveyed patients personal experience with their doctors. Researchers found that patients tend to see their doctors as “empty vessels,” who are just there to serve a patient's needs. “The doctor-patient relationship is a crucial, oft-discussed part of health care. One person seeking help, the other with the knowledge to offer it, a beautiful symbiosis. Or so it should be. In reality, this relationship (like all relationships, really) is complicated and messy. Perhaps more so because it takes place in little half-hour bursts, sometimes months apart.And as in many relationships that are strained, both parties are a little bit at fault.” http://theatln.tc/1LAMU5g
ON THAT NOTE — The New York Times has an interesting first-person account of how a doctor dealt with a transgender cancer patient. http://nyti.ms/1G5GQvs
COMPARING COSTS— BlueCross BlueShield has said they created a database that has accumulated more than 2.3 billion medical procedures to allow the insurance company to compare and measure costs in every zip code in the nation, Forbes reports. BlueCross BlueShield Axis is compiling information from 36 million provider records from all 36 of their companies, including Anthem. Note, the program won’t be publicly accessible, but consumers will be able to obtain the information through their insurer. http://onforb.es/1NWdDuR
JUST SAY YES — Vox.com looks at how the FDA became the fastest regulatory agency in the world, approving more than 95 percent of applications it considers. http://bit.ly/1Pzrvsm
TODAY'S TIP — Comes from the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. If you’re having trouble sleeping, avoid napping during the day, do something relaxing before bed and avoid heavy meals before bed. Get more tips here: http://on.nyc.gov/1VdSb3y
-NUMBERS OR PICTURES — As New York City readies to post sodium warnings on menu boards, a study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that both numbers and images are effective at swaying consumers’ decisions. This study used a traffic light — red, yellow, green — to distinguish between foods, and that worked just as well. http://bit.ly/1FwB6Qy
-OBESITY PREVALENCE— The CDC released data on obesity prevalence in 2014, which found that no state had less than 20 percent obesity prevalence. Three states, Arkansas, Mississippi and West Virginia, were among the states with the highest prevalence of obesity at 35 percent of greater. The data also breaks down obesity in adults by race and ethnicity. Data shows that obesity is hardest hitting among the black community, followed by hispanics. http://1.usa.gov/WfMGcE
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