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POLITICO New York Health Care, presented by PhRMA: ACS in political pincer; AP investigates the Justice Center

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written by Dan Goldberg

POLITICAL OVERTONES IN ACS LAWSUIT — Julie Farber is taking charge of New York City's troubled foster care system in awkward circumstances. Tasked with turning around a historically troubled agency, she is now fighting a lawsuit filed against the agency by her former employer, one which now seems to be a larger political maneuver by Governor Andrew Cuomo and Public Advocate Tish James against their erstwhile ally, Mayor Bill de Blasio. The suit against the Administration for Children's Services, filed by attorney Marcia Robinson Lowry of the advocacy group Children's Rights — Farber's former employer — alleges that the city's foster care system is fundamentally mismanaged. But James and Cuomo have effectively transformed the litigation from something routine into a much larger legal headache for the city, after the public advocate joined the suit against the city and state and then the Cuomo administration -- locked in a broader, running feud with City Hall -- reached a very quick, highly unusual settlement with the plaintiff, leaving the city to fight on its own. POLITICO New York’s Laura Nahmias has more: http://politi.co/1KGjyNk

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INVESTIGATION — “[A]n Associated Press examination of misconduct complaints against caretakers in New York found that only a small percentage — a disturbingly small one, according to some activists — are prosecuted. Since the start of 2014, the Justice Center — established to protect the 1 million disabled, addicted, mentally ill and young people getting state care — has received more than 25,000 allegations of abuse and neglect by caretakers and substantiated about 7,000 of them. But just 169 cases, or less than 2.5 percent, have resulted in criminal charges. Of the 132 allegations that involved deaths, the center has substantiated 34 cases so far but has prosecuted only one.” http://bit.ly/1MUjzz3

NOW WE KNOW — Being married is good for your broken heart, according to a study published in JAMA Surgery. The study looked at more than 1,500 people recovering from cardiac surgery and found those who were divorced, separated or widowed were more likely to have died or develop a new functional disability after the surgery. “[M]arital status is a predictor of survival and functional recovery after cardiac surgery,” the authors wrote. “Further research is needed to define the mechanisms linking marital status and postoperative outcomes.” (h/t Fred Mogul) http://bit.ly/1PVu8Hr

WE'D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU: This roundup is for you, so please tell us how we can make it even better. Send tips, news, ideas, calendar items, releases, promotions, job postings, birthdays, congratulations, criticisms and corrections to dgoldberg@politico.com.

** A message from PhRMA: In 2013 alone, the biopharmaceutical industry invested more than $553 million dollars in clinical trials in New York. Learn more about the economic impact of clinical trials in our communities at http://bit.ly/1O64IWa **

DATA BREACH — The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation is warning more than 1,500 patients that their personal health information may have been exposed after a laptop was stolen out of Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn in mid-August. The laptop, which was locked in a patient exam room was likely stolen for its market value, not the patient data, according to a press release from HHC, but the public hospital was still required to notify the federal government of the breach in security. The theft was reported to the NYPD and the case remains under investigation. The hospital sent a letter to all affected patients apologizing for the theft, and is offering free identity theft protection. Read a sample letter here: http://on.nyc.gov/1PVtRUQ

SECRECY IN SYRACUSE — The Syracuse Post-Standard complains that St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center is being too secretive about its recent Legionella problem. http://bit.ly/1Miv1nt

HAPPENING TODAY — Councilman Ritchie Torres will introduce legislation to create new standards for mold remediation in public housing. The measure would require licensing and updated regulations for how to deal with mold found in NYCHA apartments, where residents often deal with botched repairs, Torres’ office said.

HEALTH DEPARTMENT RELEASES TWO DATA BRIEFS — The New York City health department released two reports Wednesday evening. The first showed traffic-related deaths declined from 4.5 per 100,000 New Yorkers to 3.5 between 2000 and 2013, the last year of the Bloomberg administration. The second report showed that approximately 1 percent of hospitalizations were caused by preventable oral health problems.

PHARMA REPORT — The New York Times reports: “The medical laboratory Theranos, facing skepticism about the accuracy of its tests, is planning to announce that it has reduced the size of its unusual board of directors, eliminating members like Henry A. Kissinger and George P. Shultz. The board is also planning to issue a statement expressing its support for the company and its leader, Elizabeth Holmes.” http://nyti.ms/1Saxs0x

WHAT WE’RE READING:

-SUPPORT — The New England Journal of Medicine is endorsing Robert Califf for FDA commissioner and pushing back against critics who argue he is too close to the pharmaceutical industry to be trusted with its oversight. http://nej.md/1S9qmtj

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from the Cleveland Clinic, which reminds us: “Don't let your kids catch the flu.” http://cle.clinic/1k9HhA1

STUDY THIS:

-MUSIC TO MY BRAIN — NYU researchers explain how brain rhythms are used to process music, according to a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study examines the role the brain’s cortical oscillations play in the detection of musical sequences and suggests musical training can enhance the functional role of brain rhythms. "Specifically, our findings show that the presence of these rhythms enhances our perception of music and of pitch changes,” Keith Doelling, an NYU Ph.D. student and the study's lead author, said in a press release accompanying the article. http://bit.ly/1LWUi7y

-CUT THE SUGAR — The New York Times reports on a study that found obese children who cut down on their sugar intake see improvements in their blood pressure, cholesterol readings and other markers of health after just 10 days. http://nyti.ms/1PTnBgg

** A message from PhRMA: Every day in New York, countless people fight life-threatening diseases. Their bravery inspires countless researchers and scientists across the country in their quest to develop medicines that help patients live longer, healthier lives. Here in New York, the biopharmaceutical industry has invested more than $553 million during the 2,476 clinical trials that took place in 2013 alone. Each step brings us closer to a cure. To learn more, please visit http://bit.ly/1O64IWa **

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here: 10/28, 10/27, 10/26, 10/23, 10/22

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