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— The New York City Council continued to spar with the de Blasio administration over concerns that agencies were inconsistent in preventing, investigating and remediating lead-based hazards and their effects — namely thousands of city children with elevated blood lead levels. Speaker Corey Johnson said he did not feel confident that the city is doing enough to proactively enforce the newly updated lead laws.
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— Advocates looking to outlaw flavored electronic cigarettes in New York say they’re not deterred after hitting another setback in Albany this week, but vape shop owners hope the flavored tobacco ban’s failure in the county legislature has a “tempering effect” on other parts of the state.
— NYU Langone Health System will open a “patient access center” in Boynton Beach, Fla., today. It will be the health system’s third center before a fourth one opens in Las Vegas next November.
LEAD FREE NYC — POLITICO’s Amanda Eisenberg: New York City Council members bemoaned what they see as the de Blasio administration’s “inadequate” enforcement of new lead laws during a joint oversight hearing Wednesday.
… The City Council passed legislation in March that updated local lead laws from 2004, but members complained the administration has been slow to issue violations to landlords, test public and private housing units, and reduce the number of young children with elevated blood lead levels. Speaker Corey Johnson added that he did not feel confident that the city is doing enough to proactively enforce the laws aimed at preventing childhood lead exposure.
— POLITICO’s Madina Touré: The city’s Department of Education says it has begun removing, sealing and repainting hundreds of areas contaminated with lead in cafeterias and libraries serving children under the age of six, and will finish remediating them by the end of the school year.
ALBANY FLAVOR BAN FALLOUT — POLITICO’s Shannon Young: Although advocates looking to outlaw flavored electronic cigarettes in New York suffered another setback in Albany County this week, they insist it’s hardly the end of their efforts to ban the products at the state level. Meanwhile, New York vape shop owners, who have vehemently opposed such proposals, said they’re equally energized by the Albany County Legislature’s failure to move a contentious flavored tobacco ban late Tuesday.
CALL CENTERS — Amanda reports: NYU Langone Health System will open its third call center in Boynton Beach, Fla., on Thursday, executives announced, and will add a Nevada location next year. The Florida call center, which hospital executives referred to as a “patient access center,” will hire 400 salaried workers to staff phone calls and proactively reach out to patients about scheduling services, said Andrew Rubin, vice president for clinical affairs and ambulatory care at NYU Langone Health.
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NOW WE KNOW — The late Rep. Elijah Cummings had a rare form of cancer, but the Baltimore Sun reports that it’s even rarer that he lived with it for 25 years.
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TODAY’S TIP — Exercise may help fend off seasonal affective disorder, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
JOIN THE CLUB — New York Attorney General Tish James joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general and New York City in filing an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit challenging another Trump administration policy, her office announced. The federal government is attempting to bar immigrants from entering the United States if they do not possess certain health coverage or have the ability to pay for medical care.
OPIOIDS — Via Reuters: “New York’s insurance regulator has formally notified a group of opioid manufacturers and distributors that it will launch a civil enforcement action against them for contributing towards a rise in health insurance premiums in the state, said two sources familiar with the matter.”
DON’T DO THAT — The NYPD kept an illegal database of children’s fingertips for years, Patch reports. Legal Aid Society told the local news outlet that the database was destroyed this week.
WRONGFUL DEATH LAW — New York’s wrongful death law makes it difficult for families of the deceased to seek justice, Commercial Observer’s Rebecca Baird-Remba reports.
ILL-ADVISED — The New York Post reports: “Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city skipped over legally required reviews when they handpicked the site for a new homeless shelter in Queens, neighborhood residents claim in a lawsuit filed Tuesday. … The plaintiffs claim that without an environmental review of the project, impacts, like a strain on police and fire protection, weren’t considered before the shelter location was picked.”
GAME ON — Shack News reports: “When it comes to business sim games, we’ve seen zoos, restaurants, and roller coasters a plenty, but few have tackled a dicey subject like Big Pharma. The game (pretty successfully) asks players to manage the battle against disease against the cost of curing all of the problem, and console players will have a chance to get their conscience tested in this business sim come December.”
PLAGUE IN CHINA — Two people living in rural China have been diagnosed with the pneumonic plague, triggering “a panic on Tuesday about the potential spread of the highly infectious and fatal disease and prompting China’s government to warn citizens to take precautions to protect themselves,” writes Sui-Lee Wee for The New York Times.
HUMAN CAPITAL — Some of the sleekest Silicon Valley health care startups pitch themselves to clients and investors as automated revolutionaries. “Relatively underlooked, however, is just how reliant the sector is on human labor,” writes Rebecca Robbins in an especially sharp feature for STAT News. “[Jobs that point] to the limitations of the automation, AI algorithms, and sophisticated monitoring devices that have helped companies in the space achieve lofty valuations.”
GINSBURG AILING — ABC News reports: “Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was not on the bench for oral arguments Wednesday due to a stomach bug, according to the court. The court’s oldest justice, 86, is recovering at home, a spokesperson said.”
THE CALL CAME FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE — School shootings, as well as shootings in most workplaces, are usually perpetrated by students or employees — individuals with direct access and knowledge of a facility’s safeguards, according to researchers who’ve created a mass-shooter database that goes back more half a century. Their findings, which Zusha Elinson details in The Wall Street Journal, call into question some of the security solutions pitched by policymakers. “Security doesn’t make sense when the perpetrator is an insider,” Jillian Peterson, an assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice at Hamline University in Minnesota who led the research.
INTERESTING CLAIM — Vitamin Water, which is owned by Coca-Cola, is advertising its drinks by saying that “flu shots are so last year.”
INABILITY TO PAY — Gallup reports: “More than 13% of American adults — or about 34 million people — report knowing of at least one friend or family member in the past five years who died after not receiving needed medical treatment because they were unable to pay for it, based on a new study by Gallup and West Health. Nonwhites, those in lower-income households, those younger than 45, and political independents and Democrats are all more likely to know someone who has died under these circumstances.”
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