Health Care

Bronx teen dies from vaping-related illness

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— A Bronx teen has died from a vaping-related illness, the first in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is now calling on the federal government to curtail vaping products.

— Mayor Bill de Blasio defended his administration’s handling of mentally ill people living on the streets as conservatives and behavioral health advocates condemn ThriveNYC for not doing enough to help those individuals.

— The New York City Board of Health unanimously approved new testing policies for tuberculosis and syphilis. One city health department official said the move may help improve federally qualified health centers’ abilities to get the expensive test done for their low-income patients.

VAPING DEATH — POLITICO’s Nick Niedzwiadek: A 17-year-old Bronx resident has become the first New Yorker to die from a vaping-related illness, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday. Cuomo called vaping a “public health crisis” and said the state Department of Health has begun investigating the boy’s case.

IN DEFENSE — POLITICO’s Erin Durkin: Mayor Bill de Blasio defended his administration’s handling of mentally ill people living on the street Tuesday, as police revealed that the man accused of beating four homeless men to death in Chinatown is also suspected of attacking another man a week earlier.

… The brutal murders — allegedly committed by 24-year-old Randy Santos, who was also homeless — have raised questions about why he was allowed to remain on the street despite a slew of prior arrests. They have also raised questions about the effectiveness of the already-embattled ThriveNYC program — the $1 billion mental health initiative created by first lady Chirlane McCray. De Blasio resisted calls to get more aggressive in removing mentally ill homeless people from the streets.

BETTER TESTING — POLITICO’s Amanda Eisenberg: The New York City Board of Health unanimously voted Tuesday morning to amend its policies and procedures for testing tuberculosis and syphilis. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recommended in June that laboratories report all test results for tuberculosis infections and health care providers test pregnant people for syphilis at 28 weeks, after which they would document the results and treatment plans. The department also recommended switching from a tuberculin skin test, or TST, to a blood-based test called IGRA, or interferon gamma release assay.

— The changes come as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that New York has the 10th-most syphilis cases in the United States.

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NOW WE KNOW — Parents reported feeling comfortable talking about identity with their children but, by large, are not doing it, NPR reports.

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TODAY’S TIP — Comes from Community Healthcare Network: Leave a notepad by your bedside to write down ideas that might stop you from falling asleep.

MAKE SURE TO FOLLOW Amanda @aeis17, Shannon @ShannonYoung413 and Dan @DanCGoldberg on Twitter. And for all New Jersey health news, check out @samjsutton.

STUDY THIS — About a quarter of health care spending is wasteful, according to a study published in JAMA.

MENTAL HEALTH — The family of Saheed Vassell, a mentally ill man killed by the NYPD in 2018, plans on filing a complaint with the Civilian Complaint Review Board, New York City’s independent police oversight agency. Vassell’s father, Eric, told the Brooklyn Eagle that he didn’t know such an agency existed.

PSA — The Buffalo News reports: “The University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences will host a free interactive conversation this week about mental illness. Those who attend will learn more about how community engagement and inclusive research is crucial to developing new research approaches, treatments and interventions to improve mental health.”

NEW LEGISLATION ALERT — New York State of Politics reports: “State lawmakers want to increase the ability of the public to gain access to immunization data, requiring all schools in the state to report specific information on their students’ immunization rate against diseases that require vaccinations. The bill, backed by Democrats Brad Hoylman in the state Senate and Jeffrey Dinowitz in the Assembly, would also require the state Department of Health to create a searchable database on its website that contains information on each school’s rate of compliance with immunization.”

PICK UP — Concorde Medical Group will join Northwell Health, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

MAKING MOVES — POLITICO’s Sarah Karlin-Smith: “The CEO of a leading drug industry lobby will depart at the end of 2020, he announced Tuesday, setting up the organization for a major transition as the pharmaceutical industry faces one of its toughest political environments in years.

FIRST IN THE NATION — FiercePharma reports: “When generic challengers come for a branded med’s patent, drugmakers have in the past chosen to pony up and stall their rivals with an anticompetitive pact better known as “pay for delay.” In an effort to keep drug prices down, California is looking to end the practice. California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a new bill Tuesday that will make California the first state to ban pay-for-delay deals in pharma.”

JOURNALISM WORKS — ProPublica reports: “The federal agency that oversees transplant programs said it would investigate Newark Beth Israel Medical Center after ProPublica reported that the hospital was keeping a vegetative patient on life support for the sake of boosting its survival rate.”

PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION — Vox takes a crack at explaining Elizabeth Warren’s alleged pregnancy discrimination.

IN OUR LIFETIME — A new law in California allows pharmacies to make HIV prevention drugs available to patients without a prescription, writes Melody Gutierrez for the Los Angeles Times. “Recent breakthroughs in the prevention and treatment of HIV can literally save lives,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “All Californians deserve access to PrEP and PEP, two treatments that have transformed our fight against HIV and AIDS. I applaud the Legislature for taking action to expand access to these treatments and getting us close to ending HIV and AIDS for good.”

THEY ALSO EXPLODE — The lithium-ion batteries used in many e-cigarettes are known to spontaneously combust. With vape use skyrocketing, the FAA has struggled to find a solution to the risks those explosions pose to flights, according to The Washington Post’s Michael Laris. “We think that’s a pretty significant threat,” said Mark Millam, vice president of technical programs at the Flight Safety Foundation and a former safety chief at Northwest Airlines. “It’s gone from one to multiple devices that most passengers are carrying on. You don’t know where all these things are coming from and what’s in them and how legitimate they are.”

WE’RE ALL VERY STABLE GENIUSES — The toxic political climate has now been identified as a major cause of stress, writes Sumathi Reddy for The Wall Street Journal. Almost four in 10 Americans say that politics is a source of stress, according to a recent study published in PLOS One.

GIVE THE GIFT OF YOUR PERSONAL HEALTH DATA — Home DNA testing company 23andMe is opening pop-up stores for customers in advance of the holidays, according to Bloomberg.

ANOTHER BAN — Montana is the latest state to temporarily ban flavored nicotine products, USA Today reports.

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up on the New York Health Care Morning Newsletter page.

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