City Council to pass diabetes bill – Politico

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Quick Fix

— The New York City Council is expected to pass legislation this week that will require the city health department to track incidences of diabetes, particularly in geographic areas and among certain populations. The department will have until 2021 to determine a course of action to combat the rise in a disease caused from sugar intake.

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— New York City will expand its veterans’ mental health services, four years after the de Blasio administration launched ThriveNYC and promoted the $1 billion initiative with stories of his World War II-fighting father, officials announced Monday.

— Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed bills that seek to improve veterans’ health and access to services in New York state.

Policy and Politics

DIABETES TRACKER — POLITICO’s Amanda Eisenberg: The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will have to report on data surrounding diabetes and create a plan to reduce incidences of the disease, according to legislation expected to clear the City Council health committee Tuesday. Intro. 1361 received support from the city health department in February during a committee hearing, though officials said they wanted the reports to use data the agency already collects, according to testimony from Kim Kessler, the assistant commissioner of the chronic disease prevention and tobacco control bureau.

VETS THRIVE — Amanda reports: New York City plans to expand veteran mental health services, officials announced Monday. The city, through government programs and private sector partnerships, will offer mental health support such as counseling, legal services, wellness and job programs and post-traumatic stress disorder treatment, among other efforts, according to the announcement made at a breakfast reception in honor of Veterans Day at Gracie Mansion.

… Despite criticism over a dearth of city mental health resources for that population, veterans’ mental health has long been part of the mayor’s rhetoric when speaking about Thrive.

— POLITICO’s Bill Mahoney: Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday, meanwhile, signed a series of bills aimed at enhancing veterans’ health, among other things. They included measures that: require the state to study the number of homeless veterans living in the state; seek to improve access to the New York State Veterans’ App; and mandate that the state Departments of Health, Corrections and Community Supervision collection certain information on the veteran populations they serve.

PULSE CHECK — POLITICO’s Dan Diamond and Arthur Allen: The Veterans Administration is facing an existential question. The effort to bring electronic health records to the VA and a push to make it easier for veterans to see doctors outside the VA system are aimed at improving access to care. But some worry those changes will put the VA on the road to privatization. How will the VA preserve its essence and live up to its founding promise even as it seeks to modernize and provide veterans with better care?

Odds and Ends

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NOW WE KNOW — A super-taster is someone who has a genetic predisposition to tasting food differently.

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TODAY’S TIP — You’re probably not washing your hands enough — and it’s making you sick.

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STUDY THIS — NPR reports: “There’s new evidence that mind-body interventions can help reduce pain in people who have been taking prescription opioids — and lead to reductions in the drug’s dose.”

Around New York

TOBACCO 21 — The Buffalo News reports: “On Wednesday, New York joins 17 other states and more than 500 localities that have taken the same route as Needham, Massachusetts, in a bid to reduce youth access to cigarettes and other tobacco products.”

NOT A MORNING PERSON — A Daily News analysis of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s schedules suggests he is starting his workday later than he did when he first took office. The mayor often arrives at City Hall around 10:30 a.m., according to the newspaper. His average start time was 9:19 a.m. in 2014.

OP-ED — The Daily Gazette published an op-ed that argues the state Legislature went too far with a flavors ban.

VAPING ILLNESSES — The Democrat & Chronicle looks at the breakdown of vaping-related illnesses across the state.

I JUST TOOK A DNA TEST — Newsday profiled a Long Island woman with intersex traits. She discovered her variation from a 23AndMe test.

REST IN PEACE — A 13-year-old Broadway actor died this month from a massive asthma attack, Page Six reports.

Pharma Report

BUYOUT — Private equity firm KKR has formally approached pharmacy operator Walgreens Boots about an acquisition, moving the ball on what could be the largest private equity buyout of all time, according to Bloomberg’s Ed Hammond, Aaron Kirchfeld, and Dinesh Nair. Alliance Boots had been part of KKR’s portfolio prior to being taken over by Walgreens. (FWIW, the largest buyout ever was TXU and that didn’t end so well).

OVER THE WATER — China’s become a plum market opportunity for global pharma giants, according to The Wall Street Journal’s Jacky Wong. Doing business in China comes with a catch, however: “Top drugmakers get better access to the world’s second most valuable market for pharmaceutical products, after the U.S. However, China also is trying to clamp down on runaway drug prices. Manufacturers will have to slash prices to get on a list of treatments partially covered by China’s state insurance program. Many might still choose to be on the list, because the price cuts could be offset by the volume gains.”

What We’re Reading

JOIN THE CLUB — POLITICO’s Alexandra Glorioso wrote a moving essay about how she’s relied on a community of cancer survivors and patients to navigate her health decisions. “If I’ve learned anything over the past year, it’s that nothing — not even being a health care reporter, not even having a scientist as a father and a doctor as a sister — can prepare you for the immense number of complicated, sometimes life-or-death decisions the disease and the system force you to make about your own treatment, all on your own.”

DON’T DO THAT — Buzzfeed News reports: “A Virginia OB-GYN allegedly tied patients’ fallopian tubes and performed unneeded hysterectomies without their knowledge or consent, according to federal court documents.”

LET’S GIVE ‘EM SOMETHIN’ TO TALK ABOUT — President Donald Trump says he’ll meet with vaping industry officials to discuss regulations, according to Reuters. “Will be meeting with representatives of the Vaping industry, together with medical professionals and individual state representatives, to come up with an acceptable solution to the Vaping and E-cigarette dilemma. Children’s health & safety, together with jobs, will be a focus!” he wrote on Twitter.

— Vaping advocates stormed Washington, D.C., to protest a potential ban on flavored e-cigarette products. Rolling Stone wonders if this ban could cost Trump the 2020 election.

LONELINESS — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is developing a National Volunteer Care Corps to “take seniors to doctor appointments, shop for groceries, shovel snowy sidewalks, make a bed or mop the floor, or simply visit a few times a week,” writes The Washington Post’s Judith Graham. “Four organizations will spearhead the Care Corps project: the Oasis Institute, which runs the nation’s largest volunteer intergenerational tutoring program; the Caregiver Action Network; the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging; and the Altarum Institute, which works to improve care for vulnerable older adults.”

START ON A HIGH NOTE — The Boston Globe has the service journalism you didn’t know you needed: how to incorporate marijuana into your wedding.

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