By Rosa Goldensohn
CHELSEA — City-backed HIV and syphilis testing will stay in Chelsea while the neighborhood’s public STD clinic closes for renovations, the health department announced Tuesday.
A mobile testing unit that offers syphilis and HIV tests will be stationed outside the clinic at 303 Ninth Ave. starting this summer, health department spokeswoman Veronica Lewin said.
The city will also send additional funding to clinics at Community Healthcare Network, Callen Lorde and Mt. Sinai Downtown to pay for extra testing and to add a nurse practitioner at each site, the department said.
The latest “City Health Beat” report on New York 1 News features my interview by reporter Erin Billups on the effort to expedite access to medical marijuana for patients in New York State who need it. The video package introducing the interview begins at the 10:35 mark, and the interview begins at the 12:45 mark here.
I also spoke to Time Warner Cable News’ Jon Dougherty at the Capital about the issue, and you can find that interview here.
On Tuesday the Assembly passed my bill authorizing emergency access to medical marijuana for patients with the most urgent needs. Here are some stories on the bill passage and press conference held by advocates before the vote:
“Advocates Push for NY Emergency Medical Marijuana,” by Joe Spector, Gannett (via WGRZ), June 9.
“Assembly to Pass Emergency Medical Marijuana Bill” (includes video), by Joe Spector, Gannett (via Journal-News), June 9.
“State Bill Would Allow Emergency Medical Marijuana,” by Rachel Shapiro, Staten Island Advance, June 10.
“Advocates Push for Emergency Access to Marijuana as Clock Ticks” (includes video) , by Matthew Hamilton, Albany Times-Union, June 9.
“Andrew Cuomo’s Pot Problem,” by Nick Pinto, Rolling Stone, June 9.
Assembly Passes Bill Giving Critically Ill Patients Expedited Access to Medical Marijuana
Families of Children with Severe Epilepsy Among Those Calling for Emergency Access Before More Loved Ones Die
The Assembly today passed legislation directing the state to establish a program for critically ill patients to obtain emergency access to medical marijuana as soon as possible. The bill, A. 7060/S. 5086, was introduced by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried and Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb. It has been 340 days since Governor Cuomo signed the medical marijuana bill into law on July 5, and ten months since the Governor urged the Health Commissioner to do everything in his power to get medical marijuana to children who could benefit from it. To date, not one patient has received medical marijuana and at least four children who might have benefited from a well-known form of medical marijuana have died since the bill was signed.
By Karla Ann Cote, June 8
Members of the Empire State Pride Agenda were in Albany on June 2 to witness the passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, or GENDA, in the Assembly. Now they are imploring the Senate to do the same.
GENDA would provide equal protection to transgender people under the State Human Rights Law by expanding current legislation to explicitly address workplace harassment, institutionally-sanctioned discrimination, homelessness and unequal access to medical care.
By Ali Hibbs, June 6.
Last week, the New York State Assembly passed legislation that would create a publicly funded single-payer health care system in New York.
The bill, which passed 89-47, would essentially bypass insurance companies altogether by funding a state program capable of covering New York’s health care costs. Paid for by a progressive payroll tax (80 percent paid by employers, 20 percent by employees), the system would have premiums, deductibles, or co-payments for patients; instead, the state would directly pay providers collectively negotiated rates for services.
Based on an analysis by a University at Massachusetts–Amherst professor, the longtime chairman of the Assembly Health Committee and the bill’s chief sponsor, Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), has suggested that a single-payer system in New York could save taxpayers more than $45 billion a year by getting rid of insurance companies and lowering administrative costs. Gottfried has been introducing the bill for more than 20 years, but this is the first time since 1992 that it has been brought to the floor for a vote. The final tally on Wednesday was overwhelmingly reflective of party affiliation—Democrats in favor, Republicans opposed.
By Emily DeFeciani, June 2 (Link includes video)
ALBANY, N.Y. — LGBT advocates rallied at the Capitol Tuesday, demanding the state Senate to pass the GENDA bill for transgender equal rights after the Assembly already passed the legislation for an eigth time.
“Transgender people in New York have no protection in the workplace, they have no protection with healthcare, in housing, and public accommodations,” said Melissa Sklarz, co-chair for the Empire State Pride Agenda.
Different forms of discrimination Sklarz said she has faced personally time and again since she transitioned. She said “the mere act of walking in the street opens people up to abuse.”
On June 3, I joined several city and state lawmakers and dozens of advocates who were arrested at the Capitol calling for stronger rent laws. Here are some photos from the event, and below is some of the news coverage:
- “Lawmakers Arrested at Rent Protest Outside Cuomo’s Office,” WXXI Public Radio, by Karen DeWitt, June 3.
- “Lawmakers Get Arrested Protesting at Governor’s Office for Rent Regulations,” New York Observer, by Jillian Jorgensen, June 3.
- “Pols Arrested in Albany as Rent War Ratchets Up,” The Villager, by Winnie McCroy & Lincoln Anderson, June 4.
- “Dozens Arrested at Capital While Protesting for Rent Control,” News 10 Albany, June 3.
- “More than 50 Arrested in Rent Protest,” Albany Times-Union, by Casey Seiler, June 3. (Includes video)
- “Lawmakers, Council Members Arrested During Housing Rally,” Capital NY, by Josefa Velasquez, June 3.
Assembly Health Committee Update:
Protecting Nursing Home Residents From Abuse of Psychotropic Drugs
The Assembly Committee on Health favorably reported 39 bills at its meetings in May. The Committee advanced legislation strengthening the “prescriber prevails” rule in Medicaid Managed Care; authorizing community paramedicine; and protecting nursing home residents from overuse of psychotropic drugs.
New York law gives patients in nursing homes the right to be fully informed of their proposed treatment, including the right to refuse treatment and be free from chemical restraint unless consistent with certain requirements. However, psychotropic drugs are being used not just to treat illness but as a form of behavioral control. The Assembly Health Committee held a hearing in February in which patients’ families, advocates, and adult care experts testified to the frequency of overuse. A.7351 (Gottfried) requires that before psychotropic drugs are ordered in a nursing home or adult care facility, the patient or their surrogate must be informed of the potential benefits and side effects; dosage and duration of the prescription; reasonable alternatives (such as therapeutic activities); and their right to refuse consent. The bill also requires written consent by the patient or surrogate.
For more information on a particular bill, please contact the sponsor listed after the description. For the text of a bill, supporting memorandum, and information on its status, go to: http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/menuf.cgi .
Tuesday, May 5
Early Intervention Covered Lives Assessment – Provides funding for Early Intervention services through the “covered lives assessment” paid by health insurance companies. (A273, Paulin)
Credentialing for Group Practices – Requires insurers to expedite review of applications of health care professionals who are joining a group practice and grant provisional credentials to these professionals (A501, Cusick)
Healthy Teens Act – Establishes a Department of Health grant program for providers of age-appropriate sex education. (A1616, Gottfried)
On Wednesday, June 3, I joined hundreds of tenant advocates in Albany and was arrested along with dozens of activists and legislators calling for stronger rent laws. Here are some photos from the event:
Fired up crowd! (Photo credit: Make the Road NY)
With Sen. Brad Hoylman & Council Member Corey Johnson before our arrests. (Credit: Corey Johnson’s office)
Assembly Members Bichotte, Ortiz, and Davila, with Council Members Cumbo and Williams. (Credit: Jumaane Williams’ Office)
Council Member Johnson: “They may have the money, but we have the people!” (Credit: A/M Gottfried’s office)
Tenants meet the press and call for stronger rent laws! (Credit: A/M Gottfried’s office)
Assembly Member Davila: “My mother taught me that if you ever get arrested, make sure it’s for a good cause – and this a good cause!” (Credit: A/M Gottfried’s office)
The message is clear! (Credit: Assembly Member Gottfried’s office)
Being arrested for stronger rent laws! (Credit: Assembly Photography)
The indefatigable Mike McKee, founder of Tenants PAC, is arrested. (Credit: Corey Johnson’s office)
Reginald Brown from VOCAL-NY stands for stronger rent laws in the War Room at the Capitol. (Credit: VOCAL-NY)
Council Member Williams, Assembly Member Mosley, and Working Families Party Director Bill Lipton await arrest (Photo credit: Jessica Wisneski, Citizen Action)