Chelsea Now: Hopper-Gibbons Supporters Prevail in Court

Photo by Zach Williams L to R: Fern Luskin and Julie Finch have battled Tony Mamounas, owner of the Hopper-Gibbons House, for years regarding a fifth story addition protruding above an historic roofline.

BY ZACH WILLIAMS, February 26

Preservationists scored a long-sought legal victory in an ongoing effort to restore Manhattan’s only documented and landmarked stop on the Underground Railroad back to its original height.

The appellate division of New York Supreme Court ruled on Feb. 24 that Tony Mamounas, owner of the Hopper-Gibbons House  (339 W. 29th St.) would need approval from the city Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) in order to finish a fifth story. An attorney for a local group seeking to remove the building addition told Chelsea Now on Feb. 25 that the ruling allows for his clients to request that LPC order Mamounas to remove the alterations affecting the historical integrity of the building — a process that would take about six months.

“By doing so, we will preserve the heritage of what transpired there when it was used as an Underground Railroad station, when the members of the Hopper Gibbons family acted heroically to provide shelter to the slaves,” said Fern Luskin — lecturer of art and architectural history at LaGuardia Community College and a leader of the Friends of the Hopper-Gibbons Underground Railroad Site and Lamartine Place Historic District.

Health Committee Update – 2/27

Assembly Health Committee Update
New York Health Act reported from committee

 The Assembly Committee on Health favorably reported 22 bills at its meetings on Tuesday, February 10, and Thursday, February 26, 2015, including legislation giving adoptees access to their birth certificates and medical records, restoring “prescriber prevails” in Medicaid managed care, and creating the New York Health universal health coverage plan.

Photos for the Week of February 23

At work in the Chamber, with Assm. Charles Barron (credit: Assembly Photography)

At work in the Chamber, with Assm. Charles Barron (credit: Assembly Photography)

Speaking at Housing Works' "Ending the AIDS Epidemic" legislative briefing.  (Credit: Assembly Photography)

Speaking at Housing Works’ “Ending the AIDS Epidemic” legislative briefing. (Credit: Assembly Photography)

Chatting with Charles King, President & CEO, Housing Works. (Credit: Office of Assm. Gottfried)

Chatting with Charles King, President & CEO, Housing Works. (Credit: Office of Assm. Gottfried)

With Senator Hannon at VOCAL's Hepititis C Awareness Day (Credit: Office of Assm. Gottfried)

With Senator Hannon at VOCAL’s Hepititis C Awareness Day (Credit: Office of Assm. Gottfried)

With representatives of the New York Public Library (credit: Dan Katz)

With representatives of the New York Public Library (credit: Dan Katz)

NY Post: Landlords planning more evictions after Airbnb ruling

By Julia Marsh, 2/21

The Manhattan attorney who won a watershed case evicting a tenant who cashed in on his rent-stabilized pad by treating it like a hotel has received a flood of queries from landlords who want to boot other profiteers.

“I believe [the decision] will galvanize a lot of landlords to commence actions where they see this abuse,” said Todd Nahins, who says he fielded 25 e-mails and six calls just hours after The Post exclusively revealed the Housing Court decision.

Before Judge Jack Stoller declared this week that “using a residential apartment as a hotel and profiteering off of it is ground for eviction,” building owners weren’t sure of their odds in court.

“I think the landlords believe that by bringing these actions they will have a shot . . . [whereas] they did not think they would be successful before,” Nahins said.

Metroland: A Healthy Simplification

By Ali Hibbs, February 12

Eighty percent of medical costs associated with billing and insurance practices in the United States—approximately $375 billion—is squandered annually due to systemic inefficiency, according to a study released last month by a group of physicians and health policy researchers connected with Harvard Medical School, the University of California-San Francisco and the City University of New York School of Public Health, who attribute the staggering waste to the nation’s complex, multi-payer way of financing care.

The four-member research team reported its findings in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Health Services Research, where they noted that a simplified, single-payer system of financing health care similar to Canada’s, or the U.S. Medicare program, could result in savings of more than $1 trillion over three years.

Times-Union Commentary: Patients should be bottom line of care

The commentary by the Business Council‘s Lev Ginsburg on universal health care continues to rely on rhetoric and mistruths rather than the facts in an attempt to scare people. The health insurers and their allies use fear and labels like “socialized medicine” to attack a truly universal system, like Medicare but for everyone, that will give every New Yorker access to the doctor of their choice without premiums, deductibles or co-pays because the facts just aren’t on their side and are actually indefensible.

It’s reminiscent of how when Medicare was first proposed, the special interests who opposed it described it as “socialized medicine” and a threat to freedom and liberty. Now, Medicare is overwhelmingly popular and nobody would imagine getting rid of it.

Fact, a recent report from the independent Commonwealth Fund found that over a third of people forego care because of cost and another third get care but have trouble paying their bills — and this is considered good news, because those numbers have gone down.

Press Advisory – NYC Hearing on Antipsychotic Drugs in Nursing Homes

Contact:
Mischa Sogut (Gottfried), (518) 455-4941, Sogutm@nysa.us
Richard Mollot (Long Term Care Community Coalition), (212) 385-0356, richard@ltccc.org

For Immediate Release

PRESS ADVISORY

Drugging Nursing Home Residents:
Assembly Health Committee Hearing on Antipsychotic Drugs
in Nursing Homes

Each day in New York, nearly one in five nursing home residents is medicated with powerful and dangerous antipsychotic drugs as a form of “chemical restraint,” according to data from the federal Nursing Home Compare website.

On Wednesday, February 18, the New York State Assembly Health Committee will hold a hearing on the use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes.  A recent report by the Long Term Care Community Coalition (LTCCC), an advocacy group for the elderly and disabled, shows alarming above-average antipsychotic drug usage rates in some regions of the state and in many nursing homes.

This hearing will include sworn testimony by representatives of residents, families, advocates and providers, voicing their observations and making recommendations.

What:
Public hearing on the use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes

Who:
-Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried
-Representatives of nursing home residents
-Patient advocates
-Provider agencies
-Legal analysts

Where:
250 Broadway, Hearing Room 1923, New York, NY

When:
Wednesday, February 18, 10 AM

###

Photos – Health Care Panel at Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Caucus Weekend

On Saturday, February 14, I participated in a great panel on health care reform at the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Caucus weekend in Albany.  Here are some photos from the event:

Discussing Brooklyn hospitals with Assembly Member Latrice Walker

Discussing Brooklyn hospitals with Assembly Member Latrice Walker

20150214_114037_3

(L-R) - Leon Bell, NYS Nurses Association; Mary Craig, Erie-Niagara Area Health Education Center; Richard N. Gottfried; Cynthia Lewis, NYSNA.

(L-R) – Leon Bell, NYS Nurses Association; Mary Craig, Erie-Niagara Area Health Education Center; Richard N. Gottfried; Cynthia Lewis, NYSNA.

Mary Mitchell, Executive Director, Manhattan Staten Island Area Health Education Center (AHEC)

Mary Mitchell, Executive Director, Manhattan Staten Island Area Health Education Center (AHEC)

NYS Nurses Association delegation stands out in red!

NYS Nurses Association delegation stands out in red!

(L-R): Assm. Richard N. Gottfried; Cynthia Lewis, NYS Nurses Association; Fred Hyde, MD, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health; Judy Wessler, former Director, Commission on the Public's Health System

(L-R): Assm. Richard N. Gottfried; Cynthia Lewis, NYS Nurses Association; Fred Hyde, MD, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health; Judy Wessler, former Director, Commission on the Public’s Health System

City & State: Q&A with Richard Gottfried on Health and Hospitals

By City & State staff, 2/11/15

Q: Did any healthcare provisions in the governor’s budget stand out?
RG: From what I’ve seen so far, I would not support the hospital private equity pieces they are pursuing. There are good things in there. The governor is advancing proposals similar to what Sen. Gustavo Rivera and I are going to be advancing to promote easier access to clean syringes. Moving forward with advancing integrated delivery system that has to do with care-coordinating is important. It also needs to be done carefully. There are always details we need to watch out for and that’s what we’re beginning a very detailed analysis of now.

Q: What parts of the integrated delivery system need to be watched carefully?
RG: An integrated delivery system can easily become almost a feudal system with a big hospital as the lord and master and that has real peril for patients and for individual healthcare professionals. On the other hand, there are enormous advantages to an integrated system and to well-done care-coordination. So we need to make sure that as much as possible consumers have choice in what system they want to be a part of.

Q: Single-payer healthcare is still a top priority?
RG: Very much so. We are signing up co-sponsors on the bill, particularly among the freshman members of the Assembly. We now have a majority of members in the Assembly as sponsors. We are continuing to increase support in the labor movement and consumer groups and my goal is to have the Assembly pass the bill and reach a stage where, when New Yorkers think about what Albany ought to be doing, that universal health coverage is on everyone’s checklist. Getting the bill passed in the Assembly helps get us to that point. When we are at that point, making this a law becomes an achievable goal.

Governing: In New York, Single-Payer Hopeful Isn’t Giving Up

By Chris Kardish, February 2015

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried: “There’s now a lot more realization that you really can’t solve the problem by rehashing the current system.” -AP

There is perhaps no state lawmaker in the country who has pushed for single-payer health care with as much fidelity as New York state Assemblyman Richard Gottfried. Since 1992, he has introduced single-payer legislation every year, only to see his efforts fail to gain much traction. This year, Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat and head of the Assembly’s health committee, is hopeful, though he may be the only legislator in the country making a full push. Pointing to “flaws” in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Gottfried thinks the tide may be turning — despite news that Vermont, the only state to enact a single-payer law, is abandoning its efforts.

Bills to create single-payer systems — also known as “Medicare for all” — have never been widespread. Still, there’s been a smattering of efforts over the years in California, Minnesota and Pennsylvania, among other states. In fact, the California Legislature twice passed single-payer bills, which former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger twice vetoed. State Sen. Mark Leno tried again in 2009 and 2011 before bowing out in 2013. “We went to the most progressive people and we could find no one who would introduce it,” says Don Bechler, who heads the San Francisco-based advocacy group Single Payer Now.

Jim Ferlo, a state senator from Pittsburgh, has led campaigns for single-payer legislation for more than five years in Pennsylvania. He retired at the end of November, but would like for another lawmaker to take up the cause. “Hope springs eternal,” he says.