Thursday, December 5, 2013

NY Health Care and Exchange, Health Dept 453

Closing Hospitals, HHC, LICH

Health Care Costs Up Another Atack On City's Middle Class

Health Inspectors Busy With Ticketing Dogs No Time For Legionnaires Inspections Over the Years 
Add Legionnaires'outbreak to slew of responsibilities for overworked city health inspectors(NYDN)  The city has never inspected the cooling towers suspected of causing the deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak, but inspectors did manage to go after a Staten Island pooch who hopped the fence and got caught without a tag. And inspectors made a point of slapping a Manhattan octogenerian with a $250 fine when she couldn’t prove her aging white-and-tan mutt, Sunshine, had her rabies shot. How the Health Department will handle adding cooling towers to its long to-do list remains to be seen. Last week, Mayor de Blasio admitted the city didn’t know the locations of cooling towers, nor did it inspect them. He promised by week’s end to draft legislation to make building owners register the towers and have the city begin inspecting all of them. By Saturday the legislation was still being drafted, and no one could say how many more inspectors will be needed to take on the new task. The law is expected to be introduced on Wednesday.*De Blasio fires back at Cuomo as inspectors continue searchfor Legionnaires' disease bacteria in Bronx  * Even though the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx seems to be waning with the number of diagnosed patients plateauing, city and state officials are stepping up efforts to stop its spread, The New York Times reports:   * New legislation is expected to be introduced Wednesday in New York City requiring cooling tower inspections in response to the Legionnaires’ outbreak, adding tasks for health inspectors already stretched thin, the Daily News writes: 

de Blasio's Leading From Behind: Public Hospital Crisis
Paging Doctor deBlasio: New York City'sHealth and Hospitals Corp. needs emergency care from the mayor (NYDN) The city’s top doctor on Tuesday pronounced the municipal hospitals in critical financial condition — and says New Yorkers will have to step up to save them. Are you ready to pitch in? Mayor de Blasio hasn’t been. Fifteen months into his term, it suddenly dawns that the Health and Hospitals Corp.’s 11 major medical centers are hemorrhaging hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Without radical treatment, they are terminal. Landmark institutions like BellevueKings County, North Central Bronx and Elmhurst Medical Center face dire futures thanks to accelerating changes in the health-care marketplace, including Obamacare. Yet the mayor has raised no warnings about the looming crisis, let alone offered a vision for maintaining the nation’s largest public health-care system.
More On Hospital Closing and Problems

* American Progressive Life & Health Insurance Company of New York failed to file a 2015 rate proposal and became the first company to withdraw from the state health exchange, Capital New York reports:

* The U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, which allows a religious exemption from a requirement to provide contraception to employees, will be a campaign issue in the midterm elections, the Times reports:
* Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to reduce new H.I.V infections to 750 by 2020 is an obvious way to curry favor with gay voters, but political timing should not detract from the importance of the goal, the Times writes:
* SUNY announced that Fortis Property Group signed a contract to buy the Long Island College Hospital, which must be approved by the state comptroller, attorney general and the state Supreme Court, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports:
* New York’s health exchange enrolled nearly a million people since October, and the largest percentage were aged 26-34, according to a state report, Gannett Albany writes:

* The National Cancer Institute will renew a federal grant to Roswell Park Cancer Institute for five years, and its designation as a comprehensive cancer center was also renewed, The Buffalo News writes:

* New York is building one of the nation’s largest computer databases of medical records, which will allow patients and doctors to see complete health histories in one place and promises to save millions on various costs, the Associated Press reports:

* Former New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley writes in the Atlantic that the case being heard this week in which judges will decide whether the city’s Board of Health can require restaurants to serve sugary drinks in containers of 16 ounces or less will serve to define the potential role governments have in preventative health:
* Interfaith Medical Center, the beleaguered hospital in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, will remain open after it emerged from bankruptcy yesterday, ending a year-and-a-half-long battle to keep it open, DNAinfo report:


* The State Senate Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction released a report summarizing the findings of statewide forums on drug abuse, including a package of bills recommended to address the problems:
* Heroin abuse and medical marijuana legalization are two of the top healthcare issues state lawmakers are confronting in the final weeks of the legislative session, City & State reports:

* A study shows that the New York City Health Department is underreporting the number of deaths from preventable medical complications and accidents at hospitals and nursing homes, the Post reports:
De Blasio Looks to Purge Health Care Rolls to Save Millions

* Over three-quarters of doctors found sanctioned for negligence by the New York State Department of Health are allowed to continue to practice, according to a report issued today by a coalition of consumer and patient groups:

* Starting Thursday, the state Health Department will order all ambulances to stay away from Long Island College Hospital due to its expected closure, the Daily News reports:
* UnitedHealthcare Community Plan, a large health insurer, is expanding into Albany County and eight upstate communities and will focus on long-term care for low-income adults, Albany Business Review reports:

* The overhaul of the state’s Medicaid system has shifted $6 billion in public spending on long-term services for disabled and older people to managed care companies, creating a system with the potential for abuse, the Times writes:

 * A report released by Moody’s Investor Services found the approval rating of an $8 billion federal Medicaid waiver for New York is a “credit positive” for hospitals, State of Politics reports:

Food vendors still serving while owing millions in health violations(NYP)
* Sen. Tony Avella warns that home healthcare providers could go out of business if the Workers Compensation Board doesn’t intervene, the Daily News reports:

One Therapist, $4 Million in 2012 Medicare Billing
New York Will Keep Affordable Care Act Health Plans Restricted(NYT)

An out-of-network requirement would make it difficult for health exchange plans with roots in the Medicaid system to compete, according to state officials.

 * Newsday writes that the fact that the lower cost of health insurance premiums through the state’s exchange and the fact that one in three enrollees is relatively young bode well for the state’s push toward universal coverage:
Providing Medical Care in Retail Space(WSJ)

* Enforcement of New York City’s ban on smoking in parks is rare and inconsistent, Gotham Gazette reports, with only one ticket issued since the ban went into effect in 2011:

How the Medicaid waiver deal got done(Capital)

* A report from healthcare experts at Harvard and Dartmouth predicts acceleration in national health spending to the tune of 1.2 percentage points faster than the economy over the next 20 years, the Times reports:
* According to a February report from the nonprofit New York State Health Foundation, New York’s healthcare spending per capita is among the highest in the nation and is projected to rise by 53 percent by 2020:
* The state will likely close Long Island College Hospital on May 23, and probably shut the off the lights as well, since the developer who pledged to keep it open is having troubles of it own, The Brooklyn Paper reports:
* The Observer’s editorial board notes that heroin-related deaths in New York increased by 84 percent from 2010 and 2012 and warns that this is a “societal issue” that can devastate entire communities:

* Cuomo’s successful Medicaid overhaul involved obtaining an $8 billion federal waiver in exchange for cooperation from the New York’s powerful hospitals and healthcare unions, Capital New York reports:
* Nearly half of the health care providers in a recent KPMG poll said they do not know how they will use the funds secured from the federal waiver, and a majority were unsure how best to use them, Global Newswire reports:  
* Unlike most states and the federal government, New York provided a textbook lesson in making Obamacare work but the success was due in part to some tough decisions, The New York Times reports:
* Nearly 950,00 New Yorkers have signed up for health insurance through NY State of Health, the state’s official health plan marketplace, while over 1.3 million residents have applied:
* A joint state Senate task force on heroin and opioid addiction are holding a series of public forums across the state to gather information on how best to address the growing health crisis, WXXI Public Radio reports:

Cuomo got stakeholders on board

New York Officially Gets Its Medicaid Waiver

* Through a system that already provided generous coverage and tough decisions, New York state’s health exchange has been an example of how to make the Affordable Care Act work, The New York Times writes:

* The state Department of Health reports that more than 900,000 New Yorkers have enrolled for health insurance through the state’s new insurance exchange, State of Politics reports:

The state’s health insurance exchange announced that it has enrolled 717,207 people a week before the end of the open enrollment period, the Daily News reports:
NYC Health Care Exchange

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the state does not need to allow a one-year reprieve in insurance policy cancellations of substandard health policies, proposed by President Obama, because the health care exchange rollout is going well, the New York Daily News writes: * Representatives of New York’s health exchange said confusion over the malfunctioning federal Obamacare website likely hurt early enrollment in the state, though 48,162 people have enrolled in health plans through the exchange, the Times Union reports: * The Daily News’ Bill Hammond writes that Cuomo’s claims that the state hasn’t had the same issues as the federal government in signing people up for Obamacare is because the state hardly has any direct-pay insurance market left:  NY HEALTH CARE ALREADY BROKEN — Daily News' Bill Hammond: New York comes out looking good in the federal Obamacare mess because its system was broken long ago, by none other than former Gov. Mario Cuomo. Reforms passed in 1993 heavily regulated and essentially destroyed the direct-pay insurance market, Hammond writes.* More than 257,000 New Yorkers have completed applications for insurance under the new health exchange, with more than 76,000 already enrolled, the Associated Press reports: * ObamaCare to put 300,000 NYers on Medicaid(NYP) * NY's health exchange one of few Obamacare success stories(NYDN)

Health Care & Environment

A list of “navigators”—businesses and organizations that help people sign up for health coverage—on the state’s health exchange website includes places whose owners and employees are not prepared to offer health insurance advice, the Times reports:
NYC Council Measure Raising Cigarette Purchase Age To 21 Now Includes E-Cigs(NYDN)
NYC lawmakers vote to raise cigarette-buying age from 18 to 21
NYC council votes to raise legal tobacco-buying age to 21

The state Health Department announced that nearly 50,000 New Yorkers have enrolled in health insurance plans since Oct. 1, and nearly half signed up for Medicaid.
Enrollment in New York’s health insurance exchange is meeting initial hopes for the program, according to local, state and national health care experts who assessed the latest enrollment data.
New York is a rare bright spot, because six weeks into the rollout of Obamacare, some of the online insurance exchanges run by states are continuing to have serious technological problems, often mirroring the issues plaguing the much larger federal exchange.

* A state bill would ban using condoms as evidence against sex workers in light of concerns that it discourages people—especially those in the transgender community—from using condoms at all, Al Jazeera America reports:
* City and state officials, as well as two healthcare unions, admit that the winning bidder in the effort to restore the teetering Long Island College Hospital has little ability to maintain a hospital there, the Daily News reports:
* Capital New York looks at New York’s smooth implementation of Obamacare, including a functioning online exchange, Cuomo’s promotion and a requirement that insurers accept people regardless of pre-existing conditions:


Health Care

The state Health Department announced that nearly 50,000 New Yorkers have enrolled in health insurance plans since Oct. 1, and nearly half signed up for Medicaid.
Enrollment in New York’s health insurance exchange is meeting initial hopes for the program, according to local, state and national health care experts who assessed the latest enrollment data.
New York is a rare bright spot, because six weeks into the rollout of Obamacare, some of the online insurance exchanges run by states are continuing to have serious technological problems, often mirroring the issues plaguing the much larger federal exchange. * Going into its 10th week, New York’s Obamacare website, NY State of Health, saw enrollment rise by 20 percent from the prior week, reaching a total of 91,103 people, with 41,000 qualifying for Medicaid, the Times Union writes: 

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