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POLITICO New York Health Care, presented by the NYeC Gala & PATH Awards: Following up on Bloomberg's calorie counts; marijuana bill heads to gov's desk

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 lenglander@politico.com and we'll set you up for trial access.

written by Dan Goldberg

DO CALORIE COUNTS WORK? — Seven years after then-mayor Michael Bloomberg pushed for calorie counts on menus across the city, new research shows they aren't having much of an effect. The latest study confirms what many others — including Dr. Mary Bassett, the city health commissioner — had already found: Calorie labeling has no short-term impact on how many calories consumers buy. The study doesn't tackle why this is, but one concern has long been that the calorie counts don't provide enough context, and that the average fast-food buyer may not know how many calories are appropriate for a given meal. These findings should not surprise Bassett, who in 2011, while she was in the private sector, co-authored a study published in BMJ that found "no overall decline in calories purchased." The new study, by Brian Elbel, an associate professor in the population health department at NYU Langone and the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, comes as the city is set to require chain restaurants to post warning signs next to menu items that have more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium, the recommended daily limit. Read my story here: http://politi.co/1HnqfnA Read the study here: http://politi.co/1MCTpXv

SHARE ME: Like this newsletter? Please tell a friend to sign up. Give them this link: http://politi.co/1gMLiJV

AND MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW Josefa and me on Twitter @J__Velasquez & @DanCGoldberg. And for all New Jersey health news, check out @katiedjennings

BILL TRACKER — A bill to expedite the state’s medical marijuana program has been sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk, and Assembly health committee Chairman Richard Gottfried hopes the governor will sign the legislation into law before the Nov. 11 deadline. “Hopefully, the system will be up and running on schedule,” Gottfried, one of the lead sponsors of the bill allowing patients to access medical marijuana, said in a statement. “However, if problems develop, the bill could provide tools that the Health Department — and some desperately ill patients and their families — will be very grateful to have.” The state’s medical marijuana program is scheduled to be up and running by January, but an analysis by POLITICO New York last month found that several companies are still unsure of where they will locate some of their dispensaries, which could lead to many people not having access to the drug. “The bill would not undo any provisions or restrictions in the 2014 medical marijuana law, but it would give the Commissioner of Health the power to make exceptions if he finds it necessary,” said Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat. “I have been in discussions with the Cuomo administration about the bill for months and have answered every question raised by the Governor's staff; I am not aware of any argument against the bill.”

NOW WE KNOW — NBC News tells us that having “the talk” with your kids really does help, even though it’s kind of awkward. http://nbcnews.to/1l4Z2l3

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 the New York eHealth Collaborative’s Gala & PATH Awards: Join 300 CEOs, C-level executives, and influencers from New York State health systems, health plans, large employers, and the public sector leading New York's healthcare transformation by reshaping it into a new, secure, digital system. The awards honor individuals and organizations who have contributed to the advancement of health IT in New York State. 2015 Honorees: Steven M. Safyer, MD, President & CEO, Montefiore Medical Center; and Jason Gorevic, CEO, Teladoc. Register today to join our exclusive community of healthcare leaders. November 18, 2015, at Capital, New York, NY. **

BASSETT PUSHES BACK AGAINST LIFESTYLE HYPOTHESIS — New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett pushed back on the idea that lifestyle choices are the cause of poor health in minority communities. Bassett said the problem is low-income New Yorkers have no choice, and suggestions that lifestyle choices are a cause of poor health outcomes is a way of papering over racial problems. Read my story here: http://politi.co/1HnthrO Watch the Bassett video here: http://bit.ly/1GIp4o0

DE BLASIO AND CUOMO JOIN TOGETHER Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio are scheduled to appear at a rally in San Juan, Puerto Rico, later this week to discuss the island’s health care crisis. http://politi.co/1HnqPle

SCHUMER WANTS SUPPORT FOR LEGIONNAIRES’ — U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said Monday he is pushing for increased federal funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research Legionnaires’ and develop national standards for testing water supplies. Schumer is asking that the federal government dedicate $500 million to the CDC’s Core Infectious Diseases Program in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies’ appropriations bill for the 2016 fiscal year, an increase of $250 million, Schumer’s office said. http://politi.co/1Q2hDL5 [PRO]

DEFINING THE NEED — A new report from the Corporation for Supportive Housing, a lending, consulting, and advocacy nonprofit for supportive housing, finds that New York needs to create 31,745 new supportive housing units statewide “in the near future” to meet the needs of homeless adults and families. That's far more units than anything proposed so far by Mayor Bill de Blasio or Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The report says 24,155 of those units are needed in New York City, with the remaining going to Long Island, Westchester, Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. http://politi.co/1Hnt4os

‘AN UNCONSCIONABLE ACT’ — Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito criticized Congress on Monday for not reauthorizing the Zadroga Act, the law signed by President Obama in 2011 to compensate first-responders who helped in the recovery after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. That decision was “an unconscionable and an unacceptable act by the Congress,” de Blasio said. http://politi.co/1MCSiaj [PRO]

FINANCES — New York Methodist reported $61.9 million in operating income for the nine months ending Sept. 30, nearly $18 million less than it reported for the same period last year. The reduction can be attributed to a shortfall in investment income, according to the hospital’s most recent financial documents. Patient revenue climbed to $634 million, up 6.6 percent year-over-year, and the hospital reported 181 days cash on hand. Read the full report here: http://politi.co/1l51jg6

MORE FINANCES — The Hospital for Special Surgery reported $49.8 million in operating income for the nine months ending Sept. 30, up nearly $12 million from the same period last year. Patient revenue increased to more than $600 million, up 7.5 percent year-over-year. Read the report here: http://politi.co/1RqygOb

TELL JASON HELGERSON WHAT YOU THINK — On Monday, the state’s Medicaid director tweeted: “Check out this short video on [Value-Based Payments]. Let me know what you think.” Here’s the video, so take him up on it. http://bit.ly/1HnvLq5

SANDY SUIT — Crain’s reported NYU Langone Medical Center sued its property insurer for failing to deliver on almost $1.5 billion in post-Sandy claims. http://bit.ly/1HnBtsb

GRANT LAND — New York State has awarded $67.5 million to nine programs that promise to offer support for family members of Alzheimer's patients, according to a press release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office. The program, which offers recipients $7.5 million over five years, was first announced as part of the 2015-16 budget, which was signed earlier this year.

The money, according to the state, is to be used to develop programs that support unpaid caregivers through programs such as care consultations, educational resources, support groups and respite services. The state estimates that there are 380,000 New Yorkers living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. That total is expected to increase to 460,000 by 2025. See a list of recipients here: http://on.ny.gov/1Hn5mJ7

AWARDS — The auxiliaries of St. Charles Hospital and Alice Hyde Medical Center received the Healthcare Association of New York State 2015 Auxiliary of the Year awards for their invaluable contributions to their healthcare organizations and communities.

SHORT READ — New York-Presbyterian’s Aurelia Boyer tells Becker’s why being Chief Information Officer is kind of like being the President of the United States. http://bit.ly/1Q78IqT

WHAT WE’RE READING:

-WHAT’S KILLING MIDDLE-AGED WHITE PEOPLE — The New York Times says it isn’t what you expect. Mortality rates are rising because of “an epidemic of suicides and afflictions stemming from substance abuse: alcoholic liver disease and overdoses of heroin and prescription opioids. The analysis ... may offer the most rigorous evidence to date of both the causes and implications of a development that has been puzzling demographers in recent years: the declining health and fortunes of poorly educated American whites. In middle age, they are dying at such a high rate that they are increasing the death rate for the entire group of middle-aged white Americans.” http://nyti.ms/1HnyGPA

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from Community Healthcare Network’s Director of Podiatry, Dr. Craig Herman. “If you participate in a certain sport at least two to three times per week, you should wear a sport-specific shoe.” http://bit.ly/1Q2hTtH

STUDY THIS:

-PROCESSED MEAT IS DELICIOUS AND IT PROBABLY WON’T KILL YOU — Nuance is not something media headlines do well, and Aaron Carroll explains why it is so important when discussing the recent revelation there is a link between processed meat and cancer. The thing is a link doesn’t mean much without knowing how strong the link is. Smoking, for example, has a strong link to cancer, Processed meats, according to the available research, not so much. “I like Scotch. I like skiing. I like the occasional steak. All of these things may increase my absolute risk of death someday by some very tiny amount, but the daily happiness and satisfaction I gain from them outweigh those future, and most likely very small, risks.” http://nyti.ms/1Hn62yh

-BIG COSTS — States need to focus on obesity because the costs of treating it are straining Medicaid budgets. And that’s a problem that is only going to get worse as Medicaid expands to more people, according to an article in Health Affairs published by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. “Our estimate of Medicaid’s obesity-attributable expenditures is likely conservative since there is potential underreporting of data on healthcare utilization, which appear to be especially significant among Medicaid recipients,” Y. Claire Wang, associate professor of Health Policy and Management, said in a press release accompanying the article. Having a body mass index in the moderate obesity range predicted an increase of $941 in annual per capita medical expenditures for all adults, relative to having a normal weight, the release said. For severe obesity, the increase was $1,980. http://bit.ly/1HnxvzT

-PENNY WISE, POUND FOOLISH POLITICO reports: “Policymakers looking to prevent childhood obesity in a cost-efficient way should impose a penny-an-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, eliminate the tax deduction for unhealthy food marketing to kids and enact nutrition standards for school food, suggests a study published today in the journal Health Affairs.” http://bit.ly/1HnATKX

** A message from the New York eHealth Collaborative’s Gala & PATH Awards: Join 300 CEOs, C-level executives, and influencers from New York State health systems, health plans, large employers, and the public sector leading New York's healthcare transformation by reshaping it into a new, secure, digital system. The awards honor individuals and organizations who have contributed to the advancement of health IT in New York State. 2015 Honorees: Steven M. Safyer, MD, President & CEO, Montefiore Medical Center; and Jason Gorevic, CEO, Teladoc. Register today to join our exclusive community of healthcare leaders. November 18, 2015, at Capital, New York, NY. **

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here: 11/2, 10/30, 10/29, 10/28, 10/27

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