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.
Senate and Assembly lawmakers are back in Albany this week after a two-week hiatus. With the fiscal year 2023 budget now officially on the books, legislators are now expected to turn their attention to all of the bills that failed to find their way into the new spending plan.
The Assembly’s Health Committee will take up a dozen bills when it meets Tuesday morning. They include measures to direct the Department of Health to study opening three new veterans nursing homes and rename the Office of Minority Health to the Office of Health Equity. The Senate’s Health Committee, in turn, will consider more than a dozen measures, including several regarding long-term care facilities, at its Tuesday meeting.
As lawmakers settle into their post-budget work this week, Gov. Kathy Hochul must decide whether to extend the statewide disaster emergency due to health care staffing shortages. The executive order, which Hochul last renewed in late March, is set to expire April 30.
And failure to extend it again could prevent National Guard members from helping out at short-staffed nursing homes — right as Covid-19 cases continue to rise across the state.
ALBANY AGENDA: The Department of Health will hold a virtual Radon Task Force meeting today.
The New York State AIDS Advisory Council will meet virtually on Thursday.
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HOMELESS INVESTMENT — POLITICO’s Danielle Muoio Dunn: Mayor Eric Adams said he will open up more than 1,000 new beds for individuals experiencing homelessness, calling it “the largest” such investment “in the city’s history.” Adams said the $171 million he’s adding to the budget will fund 1,400 new beds by mid-2023, bringing the city’s total to 4,000 beds. The funding is specifically for low-barrier programs, such as stabilization beds and safe havens, which provide supportive housing for homeless individuals who don’t make use of traditional shelters. “This is not a one and done,” Adams said at a Sunday press conference in City Hall. “This is baseline that every year, this is going to happen.”
SEE YOU IN COURT — POLITICO’s Madina Touré: The United Federation of Teachers, the city’s teachers union, is planning to sue the city Department of Education over the placement of close to 100 education workers on unpaid leave for turning in fake vaccination cards. The union filed a notice of claim against schools Chancellor David Banks and the education department late Friday indicating its intent to sue. About 82 UFT members received unpaid leave notices from the DOE, according to the notice. The spokesperson said they originally believed the total number to be about 70.
The union argued that at the time that the DOE suspended UFT members without pay, tenured “pedagogues” — another definition for teachers — had acquired tenure and could not have been “lawfully suspended without pay… without a due process hearing,” the notice states. The union also said probationary “pedagogues” were also wrongfully suspended without pay “without compliance with the Education Law.”
…Mayor Eric Adams said Friday he was “disappointed” by the close to 100 Department of Education employees accused of submitting fake vaccination cards and said the matter is currently being probed, Madina also reports.
ON THE RISE — POLITICO’s Amanda Eisenberg: Unvaccinated New Yorkers are 37.8 times more likely to be hospitalized, according to new data published Friday. Thirty-one people have been hospitalized within two weeks of diagnosis in New York City, according to the seven-day average. The trend comes amid a surge in BA.2 cases — the predominant strain of the Omicron variant. “We are at a time of rising cases — we have been in a time of rising cases over the last month — and over the coming days, we expect to move into a higher level of overall risk in the city,” Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer on Friday.
Nearly 6 percent of Covid tests are coming back positive in the last seven days, according to the latest city data. New York City also reported 2,215 probable and confirmed cases on a seven-day average, up from 1,868 daily cases over the last 28 days. Vasan has warned that the city could move into “medium risk” for the past week, which he said is dictated by three key metrics: overall rate of cases, hospitalization rate and bed capacity.
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NOW WE KNOW — Colleges are bringing back mask mandates as Covid-19 cases tick back up.
TODAY’S TIP — The Cleveland Clinic offers tips on how to deal with aggressive behavior in toddlers.
STUDY THIS — “A UK patient with a severely weakened immune system had COVID-19 for almost a year and a half, scientists reported, underscoring the importance of protecting vulnerable people from the coronavirus,” The Associated Press reports.
The New York Times looks at “how a race-based medical formula is keeping some black men in prison.”
New Yorkers are using cannabis at underground lounges and parties as they await the official opening of the state’s adult-use market.
New York Magazine broke down how New Yorkers can travel to New Jersey marijuana dispensaries on public transit.
Erie County is now deemed to have a “high” level of Covid-19 transmission.
NYPD officers have gotten final notices denying requests for exemptions to the city’s COVID vaccine mandate.
A dozen countries have reported unusual cases of hepatitis in children, according to the World Health Organization.
St. Peter’s Health Partners will limit hospital visitors beginning Monday.
POLITICO’s Rachael Levy reports that “the Biden administration is dropping out of litigation against a Texas Medicaid waiver that the Trump administration approved during its final week in office.”
chippendales, the famous male dancer troupe, has turned to K Street to help it tap into a potential new round of federal pandemic aid, POLITICO’s Caitlin Oprysko reports.
POLITICO’s David Lim and Adam Cancryn report that the Biden administration will soon permit a wider range of pharmacies to order Covid-19 antiviral pills directly from the federal government as part of a fresh effort to make the treatments more easily accessible.