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POLITICO New York Health Care, presented by New York's Hospitals and Doctors: Montefiore's hallway beds; Pennsylvania takeover of Jamestown hospital

POLITICO New York Health Care, presented by New York’s Hospitals and Doctors: Montefiore’s hallway beds; Pennsylvania takeover of Jamestown hospital

Good morning! You are receiving the complimentary synopsis of the POLITICO New York Pro Health Care newsletter. Pro subscribers are receiving an enhanced version of this newsletter at 5:45 a.m. each weekday, which includes a look-ahead and robust analysis of health care policy news driving the day. If you would like the Pro version of this newsletter, along with customized real-time insights on New York health care, please contact us here and we will set you up with trial access. Thank you for reading!

written by Dan Goldberg and Josefa Velasquez

HALLWAY BEDS — Patient care at Montefiore Hospital is in jeopardy because of the persistent use of hallway beds, an overcrowding problem that has lingered for many years, according to several residents, a nurse and one attending physician. The residents and physician, who asked for anonymity fearing retaliation, said there are an average of six or seven beds in the hallways on several floors at the Moses campus. One resident said that in January, she was forced to take a patient into a hallway bathroom to conduct a breast exam because it was the most private place she could find. An attending physician said he had a patient in a hallway bed with prostatitis who required a rectal exam.

SHARE ME: Like this newsletter? Please tell a friend to sign up. Give them this link:

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

CORRECTION — In Wednesday’s newsletter, I referred to Pat Wang a “he.” This is obviously incorrect and particularly embarrassing because I’ve met Pat Wang. Apologies.

CLOSE, BUT NOT THERE YET — As the legislative session comes down to the last few days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders are “close” to an agreement on how to address the heroin and opioid crisis in the state, along with a measure on breast cancer detection.

** A message from New York’s Hospitals and Doctors: New York is home to many of the world’s finest doctors and hospitals, but they spend billions annually on medical malpractice costs—by far the nation’s highest. Let’s make sure Albany doesn’t make things worse by passing bills that will raise those costs even higher and damage patient care. Learn more at **

...Moments after the leaders emerged from their meeting with Cuomo, the governor’s heroin and opioid task force released its report, the culmination of a month of travel throughout the state to gather information on how to address use of the drugs. Read the full report here:

...A report from Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found that heroin and opioid related deaths reached a record high and are increasing faster than nearly every other state where data is available.

NOW WE KNOW — Ever read something 20 years too late? Turns out that teen boys with lots of empathy attracted 1.8 more girls compared to boys with low empathy, according to an article in the Journal of Personality.

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

BIG DEAL — The state's public health and health planning council approved a Pennsylvania health system's controversial takeover of a western New York hospital, deciding it was the only viable path forward." Read my story here:

PASSED — The Assembly passed three health care-related bills on Thursday which would allow people 16 or younger to sign up to become an organ donor, would prohibit emergency service providers from selling patient health information without written consent, and would require school districts to ensure that health education programs recognize the different dimensions of health, including mental health and physical health. Read the full list and accompanying links to the bills here:

MERGER MANIA — The Albany Business Review reports: “Albany Medical Center and Saratoga Hospital have finalized an affiliation agreement the two health care providers have been working on since October.

The agreement would establish Albany Med, the region's second-largest hospital system, as the "parent and co-operator" of Saratoga Hospital. It has been submitted to the state Department of Health for approval.”

CONSIDER THIS — Given all these mergers and affiliations, it might be time to consider this ProPublica story: “Mergers have become commonplace as hospital mega-chains increasingly dominate the American health-care market. But these deals often go unscrutinized by state regulators, who fail to address potential risks to patients losing access to care, according to a new report released today.”

ZIKA UPDATE — There have been 204 cases of the Zika virus documented in New York State, according to state health commissioner Howard Zucker.

AS SEEN ON TV — The Mount Sinai Health System was featured on CNBC Thursday morning. CEO Ken Davis, board chair May, as well as trustees Glenn Dubin and Carl C. Icahn discussed the power of medical philanthropy; Zika; and the future of health care

MAKING ROUNDS — Dr. David Cohen has been named chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. He will begin July 1 and oversee a division that has more than doubled in size over the past five years. Read more here:

DEDICATED — The Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and the Golisano Foundation celebrated the dedication and blessing of the Golisano Center for Community Health, a $7 million, two-story building supported by a $3.5 million gift from Thomas Golisano — the biggest gift in the hospital’s history.

PHARMA REPORT: Jennifer Lawrence is slated to play Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, in an upcoming movie about the medical company directed by Adam McKay, who directed The Big Short.

— SETTLED — Valeant reached a $54 million settlement agreement with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office, following allegations that Salix, which it bought in 2015 for $11 billion, paid doctors to speak on the company’s behalf as a reward for prescribing the drug. That’s a violation of the anti-kickback statute.

— ACQUIRED — Merck & Co has agreed to purchase biotechnology company Afferent Pharmaceuticals.


— PULSE CHECK: Zika could cause 'billions of dollars' of damage to Gulf Coast. That's according to Hotez, a leading infectious disease expert who spoke with POLITICO's "Pulse Check" podcast , fresh off a meeting to brief Senate Democrats.

Listen to the podcast:

Read the story:

CONFESSIONS OF AN ADDICT — If you haven’t yet read Seth Mnookin’s essay on STAT, it’s worth a look. Mnookin is a recovering addict, and he tells what happened when he needed painkillers following surgery.

— DON’T DO THAT — Ashley Johnson worked for a month as a nurse at Clearvista Lake Health Campus in Indiana. One small problem: She is not a registered nurse.

— BY THE NUMBERS — The Los Angeles Times took a look at Oregon’s aid-in-dying law to see what kind effect it is having.

— CALIFORNIA BEGINS ASSISTED SUICIDE — The New York Times reports: ”Beginning Thursday, California will be the fourth state in the country to put in effect a law allowing assisted suicide for the terminally ill, what has come to be known as aid in dying.”

— KASICH SIGNS MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL — Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a medical marijuana legalization bill into law on Wednesday, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The former Republican presidential candidate made Ohio the 26th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana.

— PREPPING TEENS — WNYC’s Fred Mogul asks whether it’s time to prep teens about PrEP. “Public health authorities and LGBT-friendly clinics have been aggressively promoting PrEP to gay men, and drug-maker Gilead Pharmaceuticals has been aggressively marketing it, so when Jeremy’s boyfriend shared that he is HIV-positive, Jeremy quickly turned to the anti-HIV drug regimen.

— SUED — Carolinas HealthCare, North Carolina’s largest health system, is being sued by the Justice Department and the state attorney general over allegations that it “quashed competition with demands that insurers not steer consumers to rivals, in the latest sign of antitrust scrutiny across the consolidating health-care sector.”

— AVOID PREGNANCY IN ZIKA AREAS — The World Health Organization suggest that people living in areas where the Zika virus is circulating should consider delaying pregnancy to avoid having babies with birth defects.

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from the Cleveland Clinic. “Random acts of kindness, such as holding a door for someone, can give you a ‘helper’s high’ by triggering good chemicals in your brain.”


— CONCUSSION RECOVERY — About 25 percent of people who suffer a concussion will have a lingering headache.

— COMBATING AGEISM — According to a study from the University of Kent, young people are less likely to be ageist when their friends have friendships with older adults.

— TAKE A PICTURE — Photographing experiences usually increases positive feelings about them, a study from the American Psychological Association.

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here:

** A message from New York’s Hospitals and Doctors: Everyone agrees: New York’s hospitals and doctors deliver world-class patient care. But out-of-control medical malpractice costs that are by far the nation’s highest are stark proof of a deeply flawed system. Let’s make sure Albany doesn’t make things worse with harmful, misguided legislation. Join us in urging the New York State Legislature to reject any bills that would raise medical malpractice costs even higher and weaken the ability of doctors and hospitals to deliver high-quality care. **

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