Politico NY: After delays, city unveils first part of mental health roadmap

By Dan Goldberg, 11/18

The de Blasio administration announced Tuesday it will work with hospitals across New York City to increase the prevalence of prenatal and postpartum depression screenings.

The announcement made at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan was billed as a part of first lady Chirlane McCray’s mental health roadmap, a document she promises will be “the most comprehensive municipal road map ever developed in the United States.”

The rest of the roadmap, which is being eagerly anticipated by mental health advocates, will be released in a few weeks, said McCray, who has made the issue her priority as a member of her husband’s administration, and has frequently spoken of the de Blasio family’s personal struggles with mental health.

WAMC: Medical Marijuana’s NY Journey (w/ audio)

By Dave Lucas, 11/13 (audio at link)

It was a long road to the first legal medical marijuana harvest in New York this week.

Democratic Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, chair of the Assembly Health Committee, first sponsored the medical marijuana bill in 1997. A clause that would have allowed “home production” of the drug was taken out of the measure early on. But the notion of patients obtaining the drug through licensed dispensaries stuck.

Press Wrap-Up: Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Expedited Access Bill

On Wednesday, November 11, the Governor signed my bill to expedite access to medical marijuana for the neediest patients.  Here are some stories covering the decision and the bill:

STATEMENT – Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Expedited Access Bill

Statement by Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried

“Governor Cuomo has done a very good deed for seriously ill patients and their families by signing the Medical Marijuana Expedited Access Bill.  Thanks to their work and sharing their personal stories, this legislation and the Compassionate Care Act became law.

I know the Health Department is working hard to get the medical marijuana law up and running on schedule, but glitches happen.  This emergency access law is designed to get medicine to the neediest patients, including young children, as quickly as possible.  It gives the Health Department flexibility to modify requirements of the current law and regulations to speed up production and distribution to patients with the most critical need.

For the most seriously ill patients, even minor delays – a day, a week, a month – are life-changing.”


Village Voice – Chronic Pain: Why The Architect of New York’s Medical Marijuana Law Is Already Trying to Change It

By Madison Margolin, November 3, 2105


The cover of the November 4, 2015 Village Voice

On a frigid March morning in downtown Albany, where church spires loom tall and traffic lights dangle from wires that stretch across intersections, a flurry of white-haired men in suits strolled down State Street. They were heading for Sixty State Street, the tony event space and banquet hall in the city’s Downtown Historic District, where a team of busboys were hurrying to arrange pastries on silver trays in anticipation of the guests’ arrival. Once they arrived, they mingled in groups, chatting over coffee and orange juice, shaking hands and exchanging business cards.

They were surprisingly awake for 8 a.m., despite the reason for their gathering. This mostly male, mostly white, and mostly middle-aged crowd consisted mainly of the state politicians, lawyers, and entrepreneurs who were all of a sudden driving the state’s conversation on medical marijuana. This was hardly a wake-and-bake kind of crowd, but they were all there to talk about weed.

The event, called “Medical Marijuana: Is New York Doing It Right?” was put on by the news site Capital New York and sponsored by Citiva Medical, a company that, at the time, was vying for one of the state’s five medical marijuana growing licenses. Among the stately baby boomers who would be taking part in the morning’s main event — a journalist-moderated panel discussion — was a Manhattan assemblyman named Richard Gottfried. A bookish policy wonk, he had been the loudest critic of the recently passed Compassionate Care Act, which had legalized medical marijuana — but with a host of draconian restrictions that he believed had rendered the law almost useless. No, he insisted, New York was not doing medical marijuana right. Not after Governor Andrew Cuomo essentially gutted the law that Gottfried had written, perfected, and championed over the course of the past two decades.

Calligraphy: A New Book and a Public Exhibition

In my off hours, I have for many years studied and practiced my hand at Chinese calligraphy.  I am delighted that my work is included both in a magnificent new book, 100 New York Calligraphers, and in the annual Society of Scribes public exhibition at the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park in lower Manhattan.

For many years I have been taking a class in Chinese calligraphy at the China Institute on Saturday mornings.  One of my classmates, Cynthia Maris Dantzic, Professor of Visual Arts at Long Island University in Brooklyn, has produced a book, 100 New York Calligraphers, and asked me to contribute some of my work to the volume.  I chose four of my pieces: “Persistence;” “The future is not a gift, it is an achievement” (a quote from the late U.S. Senator from New York, Robert F. Kennedy); “All under heaven is for the people” (a Chinese proverb); and “Rise together” (a phrase often used by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio).

A small piece of my calligraphy, “The teacher and the student grow together,” will be be included in the annual exhibition of the Society of Scribes of New York City at the National Arts Club at 15 Gramercy Park South in Manhattan.  The exhibition will run from November 3 through November 27, and is free.  The Club is open to the public Mondays through Fridays (excluding holidays) from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  The Club’s building, the historic, architecturally distinctive and beautifully appointed former home of Samuel Tilden (the former New York governor and Democratic nominee for President in 1876), is well worth a visit in and of itself!

100 NY Calligraphers Book

Some of my work is featured in Cynthia Maris Dantzic’s new book, “100 New York Calligraphers.”


100 NY Calligraphers RNG pages

My pieces in the book are (clockwise starting at top left): “Persistence;” “The future is not a gift, it is an achievement” (quote from Robert F. Kennedy); “All under heaven is for the people” (Chinese proverb); and “Rise Together” (a phrase used by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio).

AP: NY to Require Training for Doctors Who OK Pot for Patients

By David Klepper, October 28

New York state will require physicians to complete an educational course before they can authorize medical marijuana for patients — an unusual mandate not applied to other new drugs or seen in other states with medical marijuana programs.

State officials say the 4½-hour, $250-online course will inform doctors about a complex drug treatment not covered in medical school. But while the investment of time and money is modest, some patient advocates worry the inconvenience could discourage physicians from participating, ultimately limiting patient access.

Capital Tonight: Health Care & Medicaid in Puerto Rico (Video)

Full video here: http://www.twcnews.com/nys/capital-region/capital-tonight-interviews/2015/10/26/richard-gottfried-102615.html

Summary here: http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/2015/10/gottfried-sees-colonialism-in-treatment-of-puerto-rico/

From the Morning Memo:

Democratic Assemblyman Richard Gottfried knocked the historic approach the federal government has taken toward Puerto Rico as well as its imbalanced Medicaid reimbursement rates for the commonwealth.

“They’re losing doctors, more and more of the people of Puerto Rico are now moving to the mainland and it’s a continuation of over a century of pretty crude colonialism,” he said, adding there may be “a bit of racism” in how the U.S. deals with issues facing the commonwealth government’s finances compared to other non-state territories.

Elmira Star-Gazette: Let doctors negotiate with big health insurers

By Dr. Michael Herceg, 10/22

The recently proposed consolidation of health insurance giants Anthem and Cigna, and Aetna and Humana, is cause of great concern to the medical profession in New York. It should be of greater concern to patients.

The move comes amid a time when medical practices are already struggling with greatly increased practice costs and administrative hassles. More and more physicians are finding they have no choice but to become absorbed into large health care systems to deliver quality patient care.

Daily News: Gov. Cuomo announces plan to enact transgender anti-discrimination protections

By Ken Lovett, 10/23

ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo Thursday night announced a plan to provide anti-discrimination protections to transgender people.

A bill to ban discrimination in the areas of employment, housing or public accommodations based on gender identity or expression has repeatedly stalled in the state Senate.

Cuomo told the Empire State Pride Agenda he plans to bypass the Legislature — as he did in raising the minimum wage for fast-food workers — by granting transgender people protections through a regulatory process he controls.