Times-Union: State, Jail Health Care Providers Settle for $200,000

By James Odato, September 24

A corporate health care provider used by three Capital Region county jails entered into an agreement with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that requires it to pay $200,000 in restitution and penalties and submit to monitoring in 13 upstate counties.

According to terms obtained by the Times Union, the settlement between the attorney general and Correctional Medical Care resolves claims of dangerous practices as well as unsatisfactory and unqualified staffing that arose after six deaths of inmates in CMC’s care at five county lockups from 2009 to 2011. A probe found serious deficiencies that included unlicensed and inexperienced staff, understaffing, lack of medical oversight and failure to adhere to medical and administrative protocols.

People’s Climate March

I participated in the historic People’s Climate March in Manhattan on Sunday, September 21, 2014.  An estimated 300,000 participants made history by taking part in the largest climate march ever held. With President Obama and other world leaders meeting at the U.N. summit on climate change in New York the following week, we took to the streets to demand action to action to preserve the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It was a day to show the world the people power of the international movement to promote policies to keep fossil fuels in the ground, create meaningful “green” jobs, and put our communities back to work building the infrastructure we really need to address the climate crisis.

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With Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez of New York, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

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The People’s Climate March was the largest pro-environment demonstration in history, with its estimated 300,000 participants far exceeding a previous climate march held in Oslo, Norway, that numbered 100,000 participants.

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With NYS Assembly Member Deborah Glick, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, and Jo Anne Simon, Democratic nominee for Assembly in Brooklyn’s 52nd District.

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Interview with reporter before the start of the People’s Climate March.

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With NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman before the start of the People’s Climate March.

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With NYC Public Advocate Tish James before the start of the People’s Climate March.

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With U.S. Representative Nydia Velazquez of New York, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and Manhattan Borough President in the People’s Climate March.

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With NYS Senator Liz Krueger, NYS Assembly Member Deborah Glick, and State Senator Brad Hoylman before the People’s Climate March.

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Signing up for a “climate ribbon” on Central Park West before the start of the People’s Climate March.

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The participants in the historic People’s Climate March stretched down Central Park West for as far as the eye could see. More than 300,000 people are estimated to have participated in the largest environmental demonstration in history.

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The Villager: Dozens of Pols Join Coalition, Look to Burst Airbnb’s Balloon

By Zach Williams, September 18, 2014

Elected officials last week announced a new coalition to promote affordable housing and put Airbnb under increased scrutiny.

They said at a Sept. 12 City Hall steps press conference that Airbnb promotes illegal hotels and enables unscrupulous building owners to flout a 2010 law banning apartment sublets of less than 30 days. The new organization, Share Better, will also advertise extensively to counter Airbnb’s own recent ad blitz. The San Francisco-based “home-sharing” company meanwhile denied wrongdoing and dismissed the new organization as beholden to city hotel interests.

The new group did not specify how many affordable housing units have been lost due to Airbnb’s activities. Councilmember Corey Johnson said, though, that action must be taken to protect the city’s remaining rent-regulated units.

“We all are in favor of the share economy, but what about the fair economy?” he said. “It’s got to be fair to rent-stabilized tenants. Rent-stabilized tenants are becoming an endangered species and if we don’t step up as elected officials — as advocates — we are going to lose them.”

Assemblymember Dick Gottfried — who co-sponsored the 2010 law with state Senator Liz Krueger, who was also at the event — said Airbnb ads present an image far from the reality of its roughly 20,000 New York City listings.

NY Post: Lawmaker Targets Pharmacy That Fleeced 9/11 Responders

By Susan Edelman, September 14

A bill aimed at stopping an Upper East Side pharmacy from fleecing 9/11 responders by charging them $150 for a simple printout of records is in the works.

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, chairman of the health committee, will introduce an amendment to “close a gap in state law” that requires medical facilities to provide copies of medical records at minimal copying cost, but does not mention pharmacies.

Gottfried announced a measure to include drugstores after The Post reported that Madison Avenue Pharmacy was demanding $150 for a couple of pages of prescription records.

“No one should have to pay anything like $150,”Gottfried said.

The pharmacy backed down, saying “Our policy going forward will be to process all Victim Compensation Fund claims free of charge.”

New York Observer: With Fast Food Strikes, Some See Momentum for Minimum Wage Hike

By Jillian Jorgensen, New York Observer, September 3, 2014

Eyes nationwide will be on fast food workers tomorrow as they strike in search of a $15-an-hour wage. But in the state’s capital, many are hoping that ongoing movement will translate into the city’s ability to set its own higher minimum wage — even if it’s not as much as $15 an hour.

“Momentum is building in New York and around the country. I think the fast food workers are really are a powerful example of the unconscionable low wages that many very hard-working New Yorkers are subject to,” Assemblyman Richard Gottfried told the Observer. “And people are coming to understand that this is not about teenagers getting jobs after school — these are adults who are in many cases supporting or trying to support families, and the employers are not the mom-and-pop candy stores, these are multi-billion dollar international corporations.”

Thoughts on the North Shore-LIJ / Cleveland Clinic Partnership

North Shore-LIJ and the Cleveland Clinic recently announced a partnership in cardiac care.  The networking of North Shore-L.I.J. and the Cleveland Clinic sounds like a good arrangement, and NS-L.I.J. is a quality network. But if employers or insurance companies play a hand in forming integrated provider networks, remember that they are legally obligated (as if they needed any encouragement) to maximize return to their shareholders; that’s why they exist.

Forming integrated networks with care coordinating is, I believe, necessary for advancing quality care in this era. But just as a bulldozer can build or destroy, a network can be a fine thing or can be a tool for restricting care to second-rate (or poorer) providers.

The history of large combinations of heavy-hitting economic powerhouses promoting the interests of consumers is not at all encouraging. If some big systems brag about having one or two big-name providers (“We have the Cleveland Clinic; what more could you ask for!”), there is the danger that it becomes a cover for a restricted network with a lot of low-grade providers. (I’m not suggesting that this is what North Shore-LIJ is doing here. I’m discussing a broader situation.)

What’s the answer? Yes, integrated systems should go forward. But to protect the public, there should be strong regulation. Perhaps more important: since the one who pays the piper calls the tune, we need a system in which the payer is accountable to the public, with rich and poor consumers in the same boat – single-payer health coverage, funded by broad-based revenue based on ability to pay. That’s not going to come from Washington. But New York and some other states that have more progressive politics can enact single-payer at the state level. My “New York Health” bill, A.5389-A, would do that.

NY Post: Pharmacy Charges 9/11 Responders $150 for Medication Records

Ordinarily if medical records are needed for a medical purpose, doctors provide them as a courtesy for no cost, although technically they may charge.  It is especially inexcusable in this case, where all the pharmacy has to do is print out computer data.  Seeing this case, I’m planning to introduce a bill to broaden the definition of health facilities to cover pharmacies.  I would hope that common decency and public attention would get this pharmacy to provide these records for free.

By Susan Edelman, New York Post, August 24

A pharmacy near Mount Sinai Hospital is gouging sick 9/11 responders by charging $150 for a simple printout of the medications they take, advocates told The Post.

Real Affordability for All: New Yorkers March for Good Jobs & Affordable Housing

I joined hundreds of New Yorkers at the Real Affordability for All March for good jobs and affordable housing in Manhattan.  A new coalition of affordable housing activists and labor organizations is urging the City to require more affordable housing to be built with union labor, with unions agreeing to accept wages 40% below union pay.  I marched and spoke at the rally organized by organizations like the Metropolitan Council on Housing, the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, New York Communities for Change, VOCAL-NY, and Local 46 of the Metallic Lathers & Ironworkers to support the movement for more affordable housing now.

At the Real Affordability for All March for good jobs and affordable housing now.

At the Real Affordability for All March for good jobs and affordable housing now.

With New York City Council Members Vanessa Gibson, Mark Levine, and Rosie Mendez.

With New York City Council Members Vanessa Gibson, Mark Levine, and Rosie Mendez.

With Jarod Bejamin of the Metropolitan Council on Housing I joined hundreds of New Yorkers at the Real Affordability for All March for good jobs and affordable housing in Manhattan. A new coalition of affordable housing activists and labor organizations is urging the City to require more affordable housing to be built with union labor, with unions agreeing to accept wages 40% below union pay. I marched and spoke at the rally organized by organizations like the Metropolitan Council on Housing, the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, New York Communities for Change, VOCAL-NY, and Local 46 of the Metallic Lathers & Ironworkers to support the movement for more affordable housing now.

With Jaron Benjamin of the Metropolitan Council on Housing

With john Skinner, President of Metal Lathers and Reinforcing Ironworkers Local 46, at the rally before the Real Affordability for All March for good jobs and affordable housing now.

With John Skinner, President of Metal Lathers and Reinforcing Ironworkers Local 46

Interview with WNYC Radio before the rally for the Real Affordability for All March for good jobs and affordable housing now.

Interview with WNYC Radio before the rally

Interview with Alyssa Katz of the New York Daily News editorial board before the Real Affordability for All March for good jobs and affordable housing now.

Interview with Alyssa Katz of the New York Daily News editorial board

With Bertha Lewis, President & Founder of The Black Institute

With Bertha Lewis, President & Founder of The Black Institute

With tenant activist Michael Mckee I joined hundreds of New Yorkers at the Real Affordability for All March for good jobs and affordable housing in Manhattan. A new coalition of affordable housing activists and labor organizations is urging the City to require more affordable housing to be built with union labor, with unions agreeing to accept wages 40% below union pay. I marched and spoke at the rally organized by organizations like the Metropolitan Council on Housing, the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, New York Communities for Change, VOCAL-NY, and Local 46 of the Metallic Lathers & Ironworkers to support the movement for more affordable housing now.

With tenant activist Michael Mckee

With Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, at the rally before the Real Affordability for All March for good jobs and affordable housing now.

With Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York

 

I spoke at the rally after the Real Affordability for All March for good jobs and affordable housing now.

Speaking at the rally

Chelsea Now: Tenants’ Rights Trashed Amidst Market-Rate Conversion

By Winnie McCroy, August 14

In a case of landlord harassment that State Senator Brad Hoylman called “egregious,” the longtime tenants of 222-224 W. 21st St. are allegedly being illegally evicted so that Slate Property Group can construct high-end rentals in place of their subsidized housing.

Only seven of the original 23 tenants remain, and these holdouts say they are subjected to drilling and jackhammering from 7 a.m. until midnight, random cuts to utilities (including water, cable and Internet), unsafe living conditions, and a campaign of harassment intended to make them leave their home of nearly 20 years.

The Villager: Speed on Houston St. Bowery, Sixth Ave. will be slowed to 25 m.p.h.

By Lincoln Anderson, August 7.

In the coming months, 14 more corridors — including Houston St., the Bowery and Sixth Ave. — will be added to the city’s growing number of so-called “arterial slow zones.”

The Department of Transportation announced the second batch of new arterial slow zones on Fri., Aug. 1.

The city’s first two arterial slow zones were launched in May, when it was also announced that Canal St. would also become one — Downtown Manhattan’s first slow zone — by June.