October 5, 2022

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Hochul marks 9/11 anniversary with bill package

Good morning and welcome to Monday’s New York Health Care newsletter, where we keep you posted on what’s coming up this week in health care news, and offer a look back at the important news from last week.

New York residents and first responders affected by the 9/11 terror attacks should soon be able to more easily access support from the Sept. 11th Victim Compensation Fund under new legislation signed into law.

Gov. Kathy Hochul commemorated the
21st anniversary of the attacks
by endorsing a five-bill package that seeks to provide support to 9/11 victims, survivors and their families — many of whom have developed respiratory issues and pulmonary diseases after being exposed to debris from the World Trade Center site.

The package approved on Friday included measures that establish an alternative method for Victim Compensation Fund awards (NY S6810)/(NY A7425); require the fund to process injury claims equally to death claims (NY S6812)/(NY A7426); extend the deadline for filing disability claims for a qualifying World Trade Center condition (NY S9294)/(NY A10416); and provide a presumption for workers’ compensation claims for any health impairment or death for those who participated in the World Trade Center rescue, recovery and clean-up operations (NY S9370)/(NY A9922). (The governor also signed legislation that designated a highway in honor of James Kennelly, a volunteer firefighter who assisted with the 9/11 rescue and recovery efforts.)

Assemblymember Peter Abbate (D-Brooklyn) said the legislation will not only streamline procedures for victims and survivors to receive awards, but also “ensure that those brave men and women who participated in the World Trade Center rescue, recovery and clean-up operations receive the benefits that they and their families deserve.”

“I am proud to see that 21 years later, New York State is still taking action to support 9/11 first responders,” Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan) added in a statement. “In my district, we still have many people developing and living with 9/11 related illnesses. It is our duty to make sure that all survivors receive the support they deserve.”

As of Aug. 31, the Victims Compensation Fund had awarded a total of more than $10.3 billion to 46,000-plus individuals since reopening in October 2011. That includes more than $836 million awarded to nearly 4,000 individuals in 2022 alone.

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING THIS WEEK:

— The New York State Coordinating Council for Services Related to Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementia meets virtually today.

— The Emergency Medical Services for Children Advisory Councilmeets virtually on Tuesday.

— The Public Health and Health Planning Council holds a special full council meeting on Thursday, as does the Early Intervention Coordinating Council.

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POLIO EMERGENCY — POLITICO’s Shannon Young: New York declared a state disaster emergency Friday after poliovirus was detected in wastewater samples from Long Island, signaling growing community spread of the virus which can cause paralytic disease. Gov. Kathy Hochul issued the executive order, which increases resources available for the state to combat viral spread, after a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sequence analysis found polio in a wastewater sample collected in August from Nassau County.

The sample was genetically linked to the case of paralytic polio identified in Rockland County just north of New York City earlier this summer — the first in the nation in nearly a decade. The virus has also been detected in wastewater samples from neighboring Orange and Sullivan counties, as well as those from New York City. All of the reported samples include types of poliovirus that can cause paralysis, according to the state Department of Health.

VAX TO SCHOOL — Shannon reports: Schools across New York welcomed students back to classrooms [last] week for an academic year without pandemic-era restrictions, despite lagging pediatric Covid vaccination rates. With Covid cases declining, new antiviral treatments available and a vaccine now authorized for Americans under age 5, state education and health officials updated guidance in late August to align school policy with new federal quarantine and testing recommendations.

But while New Yorkers of all ages can finally get immunized against Covid, fewer than half of residents aged 5 to 11 and less than 10 percent of those aged 6 months to 4 years — the final age group to become eligible for the shots in the U.S. — were partially vaccinated as of Sept. 2. Even less were fully vaccinated, according to state data.

… In New York City, just 2 percent of children under 5 have received the recommended number of doses, and 93 percent have not received a single shot of the vaccine, POLITICO’s Julian Shen-Berro reports. Of kids old enough to get a booster, just 8 percent aged 5-12 had obtained one. Twenty-eight percent of the 12-17 population had gotten one.

WE LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU: This roundup is for you! Send news tips, health tips, ideas, criticisms and corrections to [email protected].

NOW WE KNOW — Breast implants have been linked to reports of cancer, according to a recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration safety notice.

TODAY’S TIP — The Cleveland Clinic offers tips on “how to build up your kid’s immune system.”

MAKE SURE TO FOLLOW Shannon @ShannonYoung413 on Twitter. And for all New Jersey health news, check out Daniel Han, @danieljhan_.

STUDY THIS — A new “study published in JAMA Internal Medicine emphasizes the importance and success of boosters in keeping people infected with COVID-19 out of the hospital,” TIME reports.

“A report of arsenic in the tap water at the Jacob Riis Houses in Manhattan was a false alarm, city officials said on Saturday,” The New York Times reports.

The Wall Street Journal looks at how “Covid-19 is still killing hundreds of Americans daily.”

“The Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a court order that would have forced Yeshiva University to recognize an LGBTQ group as an official campus club,” The Associated Press reports.

Health officials are urging Americans to get their Covid-19 booster and flu shots at the same time, and as soon as possible. But some experts warn it’s “still early to get a flu shot,” Kaiser Health News reports.

STAT reports that “a growing number of hospitals are outsourcing often-unprofitable outpatient services for their poorest patients by setting up independent, nonprofit organizations to provide primary care.”

The Boston Globe examines how “secrecy pervades medical malpractice settlements.”

“Premiums for many Affordable Care Act health-insurance plans are set to rise sharply next year, a sign of how rising labor costs and other expenses are starting to ripple through the healthcare economy,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

POLITICO’s Julian Shen-Berro reports that sluggish hiring, a lack of remote options and uncompetitive compensation are frustrating skyrocketing vacancy rates among city workers, City Council members said Friday, during a hearing overshadowed by complaints about municipal worker vaccine mandates.

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled 5-2 last week to certify a sweeping abortion rights initiative for the November ballot, giving voters in the swing state a chance to decide whether the procedure remains legal or whether a nearly 100-year-old ban goes back into effect, POLITICO’s Alice Miranda Ollstein reports.

POLITICO’s Joe Anuta and Sally Goldenberg report that Roberto Perez, head of the city’s intergovernmental affairs office, is leaving for a job in the private sector — the first high-profile departure of Mayor Eric Adams’ young administration.

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