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NY will start enforcing ban on sale of flavored e-cigarettes on Oct. 4

Posted 18 September 2019 at 9:02 am

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Tuesday that New York State is the first state in the nation to implement a ban on the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes and nicotine e-liquids, following a vote on emergency regulations by the Public Health and Health Planning Council.

The ban is the latest in a series of actions to combat the increase in young people using vape products, largely as a result of e-cigarette companies marketing flavors that are intended to get children addicted to nicotine.

The ban on the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes and nicotine e-liquids is now in effect. However, the Department of Health will provide retailers with an approximate two-week grace period before conducting visits to enforce the flavoring ban beginning on Monday, October 4.

Local health departments and the Department’s District Offices, with State oversight, will handle enforcement. Retailers who violate the ban will face fines of up to $2,000 per violation, which is defined as each unit of flavored e-liquid or product containing e-liquid that is possessed, manufactured, sold or offered for sale.

“It is undeniable that vaping companies are deliberately using flavors like bubblegum, Captain Crunch and cotton candy to get young people hooked on e-cigarettes – it’s a public health crisis and it ends today,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York is not waiting for the federal government to act, and by banning flavored e-cigarettes we are safeguarding the public health and helping prevent countless young people from forming costly, unhealthy and potentially deadly life-long habits.”

On Sunday, Governor Cuomo directed the Department of Health to convene an emergency meeting of PHHC to consider this ban. The Governor also directed State Police and DOH to immediately partner to ramp up enforcement efforts against retailers who sell to underage youth, with the possibility of criminal penalties, in addition to announcing that he will advance legislation to ban deceptive marketing of e-cigarettes to teens and children.

As part of the Family Smoking and Tobacco Prevention Act of 2009, the U.S. Congress banned the sale of cigarettes with flavors other than menthol and tobacco.

New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “The alarmingly high numbers of young people in New York State who are using vape products is nothing short of a public health crisis. These regulations are a part of many critical steps we are taking to combat this disturbing trend. We will continue to be aggressive in our efforts to prevent nicotine addiction and bad marketing practices under Governor Cuomo’s leadership.”

Flavors are largely responsible for the dramatic increase in use of e-cigarettes by youth and are a principal reason that youth initiate and maintain e-cigarette use. According to Department of Health data, nearly 40 percent of 12th grade students and 27 percent of high school students in New York State are now using e-cigarettes, and this increase is largely driven by flavored e-liquids.

High school use in 2018 (27.4%) is 160 percent higher than it was in 2014 (10.5%). While New York’s high school student smoking rate dropped from 27.1% in 2000 to a record low of 4.3% in 2016, aggressive marketing strategies promoting flavored e-cigarettes is primed to turn that trend.

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Governor takes executive action to ban sale of flavored e-cigarettes

Posted 16 September 2019 at 7:40 am

Retailers that sell tobacco and vaping products to underage individuals will face criminal penalties

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Sunday an emergency executive action to ban the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes in New York State – the latest in a series of actions to combat the increasing number of youth using vape products, largely driven by e-cigarette companies marketing flavors that are intended to get children addicted to nicotine.

DOH Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker will hold an emergency meeting with the Public Health and Health Planning Council, or PHHPC, this week to ban flavored e-cigarettes. The Governor directed State Police and DOH to immediately partner to ramp up enforcement efforts against retailers who sell to underage youth, with the possibility of criminal penalties. Finally, the Governor announced he will advance legislation to ban deceptive marketing of e-cigarettes to teens and children.

“Manufacturers of fruit and candy-flavored e-cigarettes are intentionally and recklessly targeting young people, and today we’re taking action to put an end to it,” Cuomo said on Sunday. “At the same time, unscrupulous stores are knowingly selling vaping products to underage youth – those retailers are now on notice that we are ramping up enforcement and they will be caught and prosecuted.”

To further crack down on retailers selling tobacco and vaping products to underage youth, State Police is partnering with DOH to conduct undercover investigations across the state under The Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act, which enlists underage youth to attempt to buy tobacco and e-cigarette products. Retailers found selling tobacco and vaping products to underage individuals will now face criminal penalties in addition to civil penalties. When the legislation signed in July is effective on November 13, these sweeps and compliance efforts will continue with a renewed focus on sales to those under age 21.

State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, “Retailers who sell E-cigarettes and vaping products must ensure they are checking IDs and only selling to those who are old enough to purchase. State Troopers will partner with the Department of Health to crack down on those who sell to minors and will hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

These efforts follow a series of actions taken by the Governor aimed at addressing the growing use of vaping products, which have come under national scrutiny following a rising number of cases of vaping-associated respiratory illnesses.

On September 12, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order that directs state agencies to deploy education awareness programs on vaping and include vaping and e-cigarette prevention and cessation measures in their educational programs and employee trainings. The order also directs DOH to work with the State Education Department to immediately develop and deploy these measures for school districts to incorporate into their curriculums. The Governor also signed legislation to expand current school-based programs and marketing campaigns aimed at reducing tobacco use to include e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine.

On September 9, the Governor directed DOH to launch an investigation into companies that produce vaping substances. DOH served three subpoenas so that DOH can determine the ingredient mix in their diluent-thickeners. DOH also passed emergency regulations to require shops that sell e-cigarettes to post a warning that lets people know that it poses a significant health risk. Regulations are now in place to do this.

On July 16, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to raise the age to purchase tobacco and electronic cigarette products from 18 to 21, effective November 13, 2019. The Governor also signed legislation in October 2017 to ban the use of electronic cigarettes on all school grounds and everywhere that smoking products are prohibited.

New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “E-cigarettes have been implicated as a key indicator in the upward trend of the use of tobacco products among youths in recent years. These regulations will help curb this dangerous trend and will further safeguard the health of all New Yorkers, especially among underage youths.”

Anyone experiencing symptoms who uses vape products should contact their healthcare provider immediately. Healthcare providers should report possible cases to the local poison control center (1-800-222-1222). If you are concerned at all with your vaping device or products or just want more information, call the NYSDOH’s Vaping Hotline at 1-888-364-3046.

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Farm-to-Table dinner raises funds for new health and wellness center in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 September 2019 at 8:33 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

KENDALL — Oak Orchard Health held its first farm-to-table dinner on Saturday with 150 people attending the event at Partyka Farms.

Proceeds from the first-time fundraiser, called Rootstock, will go towards Oak Orchard’s new health and wellness center that is opening in Albion next month at the former OTB, next to Oak Orchard’s doctor’s offices at 301 West Ave.

The new center will offer behavior health (mental health), alternative pain therapy and substance abuse.

Mary Ann Pettibon, Oak Orchard Health chief executive officer, was pleased with the event, and expects it will be back next year.

Staff from The Farmer’s Table in Hamlin, which is owned by the Partyka family, prepared the meal, led by chef Guy Warren. This photo shows Bob Ryan, a friend of the family, scooping ice cream on the baked fruit desserts.

The dinner buffet included beef tenderloin, chicken saltimbocca, gourmet pasta and cheese, smashed potatoes, mixed vegetables and roasted corn on the cob from the farm.

Chris Wilson provided music during the dessert time.

Oak Orchard shared testimonials during the dinner from doctors who serve Oak Orchard’s 22,000 patients at sites in Albion, Lyndonville, Brockport, Warsaw and Hornell.

The display at the dinner included cards showing milestone events in Oak Orchard’s history, including its founding in 1966 in Albion. Oak Orchard initially was focused on provided healthcare and services for farmworkers. Oak Orchard has expanded many times since it started. Farmworkers remain an important focus of the organization’s mission, with Oak Orchard serving about 1,500.

Oak Orchard serves the general population, including many people without insurance or who are underinsured. The organization also provides dental and eye care, and has a mobile dental unit that goes to local school districts.

Oak Orchard Health in 1991 built a new site at 301 West Ave.

Lora Partyka helps scoop ice cream for the desserts during the dinner. The family was happy to host the big event. The field for the dinner was next to Partyka’s Farm Market on Monroe-Orleans Countyline Road. The farm has two kitchens which were used to cook the meals.

The field for the dinner was in an apple orchard.

Oak Orchard Health presented an award to Lora’s husband, Jeff, who served on the OOH board of directors for several years.

Adam Krenning, who led Albion’s FFA and agriculture program for about 20 years, also was recognized with an Agricultural Connection Award during the event.

Jerry Archibald brought these five classic cars to add to the ambiance to the farm-to-table dinner at Partyka Farms. Archibald works with Oak Orchard Health through his job as a partner and CPA with the Bonadio Group.

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At forum, concerns raised about health impacts from large turbines

Photo by Tom Rivers: Rob Rand, a member of Institute of Noise Control Engineers, urges bigger setbacks for turbines to help protect residents from infrasound, which penetrates walls and disrupts sleep for many people. Rand runs Rand Acoustics in Brunswick in Maine.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 September 2019 at 9:04 am

Experts say low-frequency infrasound has debilitating effects on about 10% of population who live near turbines

WILLIAMSVILLE – Wind turbines aren’t the noise-free, idyllic structures that are typically presented to be, said several speakers at a forum Tuesday on the public health impacts of industrial wind turbines.

The turbines, which tower more than 400 feet high, not only change the looks a rural landscape, but they have shadow flicker and infrasound that effect the health of many residents near the turbines.

Infrasound, in particular, is a very real problem, where low-frequency sound waves hurt disrupt the sleep and have debilitating effects on about 10 percent of the population, said Dr. Jerry Punch, a certified audiologist for over 50 years. He works at Michigan State University.

“I’m not saying everyone will get sick, but some will complain of health effects,” Punch told about 100 people Tuesday during the forum organized by State Sen. Robert Ortt at Erie Community College’s North Campus. “There is enough scientific evidence that infrasound causes annoyance and health effects. If not sited properly, the impacts would occur in substantial proportion of the population.”

Apex Clean Energy is working on projects in Barre and Yates-Somerset. Other wind energy developers have completed projects in Western New York, and Ortt said he expects more will be coming after the State Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, with a goal of achieving a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.

State Sen. Robert Ortt speaks during a forum Tuesday at Erie County Community College’s North Campus. He is joined by panelists, from left: Assemblyman Mike Norris, R-Lockport; Rob Rand, member of INCE (Institute of Noise Control Engineers); Jerry Punch, Ph.D., audiologist; Gary Abraham, an environmental attorney; and Dan Stapleton, Niagara County Commissioner of Health.

Ortt said the state will be pushing wind energy, solar and other renewable energy to meet those targets. Western New York and upstate will see more renewable energy projects because of the state’s carbon-neutral goals, Ortt said.

“If you live in a rural community you will see more of these kind of projects,” he told the crowd.

He said developers will likely pick poorer, rural communities.

“You don’t see turbines in affluent areas,” he said.

State officials need to consider the harm on some residents’ mental and physical health with siting projects, Ortt said.

“These are impacts we need to discuss because of the energy goals,” Ortt said. “We’re going to see more of these type of projects. At some point this will effect a lot of people not just in Western New York, but in Upstate New York.”

Linda Makson lives in Orangeville, Wyoming County, where Invenergy has had a turbine project since 2014.

Linda Makson of Orangeville said her house is surrounded by wind turbines.

“Every single window I look out I see one,” she said at the forum.

She and her husband Paul have lived in Orangeville since 1973. It was peaceful, but that changed with the turbine project, including during construction with “an incessant beep, beep, beep” from construction vehicles, and the dust in the air, she said.

The shadow flicker from the turbines, which bothers her about a half hour each day, “is nauseating. The flicker makes me feel sick.”

The flicker is short term, while the noise is far more frequent, and the turbines also have blinking red lights at night.

“We have lost vistas,” she said about the visual impact. “We expect to see the beauty of the land.”

Makson said she suffers headaches and stress from the noise, which disrupts her sleep.

Headaches and continued stress and noise

“The noise can be heard in my house even with the doors and windows closed,” she said. “There are days the turbines just roar.”

Lynn Bedford of Chautauqua County said living near wind turbines “is a form of torture.”

Lynn Bedford has seven 500-foot-tall turbines near her home in Arkwright Hills, Chautauqua County. EDP Renewables of North America started operating the 78.4 megawatt wind energy project in Arkwright, which is near Fredonia, last year.

Bedford said one of the turbines is within 1,000 feet of her home. EDP has 36 turbine sin Arkwright and they became operational last September.

“Within 24 hours my ears began to ring, it hasn’t stopped,” Bedford said. “It has affected my sleep habits. I became a victim of an uncontrollable circumstance.”

Bedford said she has become an emotional roller-coaster since the project started. She also has begun to lose vision in an eye and her heart pounds.

“The sleep deprivation has been the worst,” she said at the forum. “Some days I feel like I’m going to lose my mind. My human body is being attacked by something called infrasound. Infrasound is a weapon of war.”

Bedford has 29 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She is determined to fight the wind turbine project.

“In Arkwright it’s a form of torture,” she said about living by turbines. “This is actually a crime against humanity. Something must be done about it. I pray someone will put an end to this wind turbine nightmare.”

Dan Stapleton, Niagara County Commissioner of Health, has concerns with large-scale wind turbines.

Dan Stapleton, the Niagara County Commissioner of Health, also is president of a statewide association of health officials (New York State Association of County Health Officials) and a member of the Western New York Health Alliance. Those groups have all passed formal resolutions seeking for full environmental impact studies with turbine projects, including the impacts on human health.

“I don’t call them wind farms,” Stapleton said. “I call them industrial wind turbines.”

He said he and health officials aren’t against renewable energy projects, they just want detailed health impact studies.

“It shouldn’t be incumbent on the residents to prove it’s unsafe,” he said. “It should be incumbent on the developers to prove it is safe.”

The Health Department works every day with people suffering from chronic disease. Stapleton said sleep deprivation – either not enough sleep or not enough quality sleep – has an impact on human health.

“We’re talking about a large-scale project,” he said. “It is imperative to fully research and assess health implications that could put residents at risk from large industrial wind turbines.”

Dr. Jerry Punch, an audiologist, said turbine noise is more harmful to some people than hearing aircraft and rail traffic.

Jerry Punch, Ph.D., has worked as an audiologist for more than 50 years. He said about 10 percent of the population near large-scale wind turbines will suffer “annoyance” and sleep disruption from turbine noise.

The low-frequency infrasound can’t be heard, but it is felt by about 10 percent of the population near turbines, he said.

For them, the infrasound can be debilitating. He has met families in Michigan who had to leave their homes at night to sleep in motels. One family who fled their homes had turbines within 1,300 to 2,000 feet of their house.

Wind turbine noise has unique characteristics, he said.

“What we can’t hear can hurt us,” he said. “Infrasound is below threshold of audibility. Even though you can’t hear it can be perceived.”

The turbines are more operational at night-time, when it is quieter in a house. And turbines tend to be sited in quiet, rural areas.

Some people will suffer migraines, reduced quality of life, vomiting, extreme headaches, and changes in heart rate, he said.

He advocates for bigger setbacks. Some communities only account for the size of the turbines and blade throw, if a blade broke off. But Punch said the noise impacts need to be considered, with the turbines pushed farther away from people.

He said some experts suggest minimum distances of 0.5 to 2.5 miles, while many researchers suggest minimum of 1.25 miles.

Robert Rand said people suffering from wind turbine noise shouldn’t be discounted.

Robert Rand, owner of Rand Acoustics in Maine, has worked as a noise consultant for nearly 40 years. He visited a wind turbine project and suffered with headaches and poor balance for seven weeks after that.

“I’m in that 10 percent of the population that is immediately susceptible,” Rand said. “I could not live near a wind farm.”

He said there is an impression that turbines don’t make noise, but they do, and that noise is difficult for some people to bear.

The turbines have a pulsating low-frequency noise. It isn’t steady. About every second the turbines will have a leak noise noise while the blades are spinning. That pulsating can trigger a feeling like motion sickness for some people, Rand said.

“Distance is the only reliable noise control option,” he said. “In most places there isn’t enough distance to avoid impacts.”

The noise can feel like a “thumping” at nighttime, disturbing sleep for some residents, he said.

“There is some suggestion that people are making this up,” Rand said. “I can tell you from my direct experience people aren’t making this up.”

Rand said he is concerned as developers propose larger turbines topping 600 feet in what are very quiet, rural areas.

“As they’ve gotten larger the problem has gotten exacerbated,” Rand said. “It’s gotten worst.”

Gary Abraham, an environmental attorney, urges towns to pass wind energy laws that protect the health of residents.

Gary Abraham, an environmental attorney, has worked with municipalities to draft local ordinances with setbacks to better protect residents from noise, shadow flicker and other intrusiveness negative effects from turbines.

Although the state has created a Siting Board to review energy projects with more than 25 megawatts, Abraham said local ordinances still are considered in siting projects.

He said noise is a big impact from turbines, especially with the pulsations every second when the turbines are spinning.

He wants the Siting Board to consider the noise impacts at night.

“It’s not a constant hum,” he said. “You’re getting a noise event every second with the pulsations from wind turbines.”

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Governor will advance legislation banning flavored e-cigarettes

Posted 10 September 2019 at 9:00 am

Cuomo directors Department of Health to issue emergency regulations for warning signs in all vape and smoke shops in NY

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday directed the New York State Department of Health to take a series of measures to address two emerging public health crises: the increasing number of cases of vaping-associated respiratory illnesses and the increasing number of youth that are using vape products and developing lifelong nicotine addictions.

The Governor directed the Department of Health to issue subpoenas to companies marketing and selling “thickening agents” used in black market vaping products and to issue emergency regulations mandating that warning signs must be posted in all vape and smoke shops in New York State. Additionally, the Governor announced that he will advance new legislation to ban flavored e-cigarettes.

“Common sense says if you do not know what you are smoking, don’t smoke it, and right now we don’t know what you are smoking in a lot of these vaping substances,” Governor Cuomo said. “The rise in vaping-associated illnesses is a frightening public health phenomenon and I am directing the Department of Health to take several actions to address this crisis.”

Governor Cuomo ordered the Department of Health to issue subpoenas to three companies that the Department has identified as marketing thickening agents to companies that manufacture vape liquids. These thickeners are being marketed and readily available on the internet as a cheaper, safer alternative that does not negatively impact flavoring or odor of existing products and can be used to cut vape products to any level of THC.

The Department is ordering them to provide additional information to aid its investigation of this public health crisis. The Wadsworth Center has obtained samples of thickeners from these three companies and determined that they are nearly pure vitamin E acetate oil. The companies being served with this subpoena and their product names are: Honey Cut Diluting Agent by Honey Cut Labs LLC in Santa Monica, California; Uber Thick by Floraplex Terpenes in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and Pure Diluent by Mass Terpenes in Amherst, Massachusetts. These three companies are the first to be subpoenaed, but more companies are likely to be ordered to provide samples as the investigation continues.

While the investigation is still ongoing, laboratory results have shown very high levels of vitamin E acetate in nearly all cannabis-containing samples analyzed by the Wadsworth Center. Vitamin E acetate is a commonly available nutritional supplement that is not known to cause harm when ingested as a vitamin supplement or applied to the skin. However, the Department continues to investigate its health effects when inhaled because its oil-like properties could be associated with the observed respiratory symptoms.

In addition, Governor Cuomo directed the Department of Health to issue emergency regulations, subject to approval by the Public Health and Health Planning Council (PHHPC), to require entities in New York State that sell vaping products to post signage on the dangers of vaping. The Department is also launching a public service campaign to further educate the public on the numerous risks involved with vaping.

Finally, the Governor said he will advance legislation to prohibit the possession, manufacture, distribution, sale or offer for sale of flavored electronic liquids to discourage electronic cigarette use in New York State.

According to Department of Health data, nearly 40 percent of 12th grade students and 27 percent of high school students in New York State are now using e-cigarettes, and this increase is largely driven by flavored e-liquids.

High school use in 2018 (27.4%) is 160 percent higher than it was in 2014 (10.5%). While New York’s high school student smoking rate dropped from 27.1% in 2000 to a record low of 4.3% in 2016, aggressive marketing promoting flavored e-cigarettes stands to turn that trend. Flavoring is a key youth marketing strategy of the vaping/aerosol industry just as it is in the cigarette, cigar, and smokeless tobacco markets.

E-cigarette marketing highlights flavors such as mint chocolate, bubblegum and cherry cola, and creates a mistaken belief that they are not harmful to users. Studies show nearly 78% of high school students, and 75% of middle school students report being exposed to pro-tobacco marketing in 2016.

“The current outbreak of vaping-associated illnesses and the increasing number of young people using vape products and developing lifelong addictions are two serious public health crises,” said New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.

Anyone experiencing symptoms who uses vape products should contact their healthcare provider immediately. Healthcare providers should report possible cases to the local poison control center (1-800-222-1222). If you are concerned at all with your vaping device or products or just want more information, call the NYSDOH’s Vaping Hotline at 1-888-364-3046.

Patients using vape products reported a variety of symptoms, developing over a period of days to weeks, including: pulmonary symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, chest pain); gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea); fatigue; fever; headache; and weight loss.

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Governor, Department of Health urge people to temporarily stop using vaping products

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 September 2019 at 5:43 pm

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Department of Health today urged people to temporarily stop using vaping products after hundreds of people were recently diagnosed with a severe and puzzling lung  disease linked to electronic cigarettes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said the number of vaping-related illnesses is up to at least 450 cases in 33 states.

The CDC recommended that people avoid vaping devices while investigators try to find out what is causing the illnesses.

“There is an investigation ongoing,” Cuomo said today. “Nobody knows exactly what it is. Our health guidance is no one should be using vaping products period until we know what it is.”

Dr. Howard Zucker, commissioner of the state Department of Health, issued this statement about vaping-associated illnesses:

“Heeding the warnings from CDC and at the direction of Governor Cuomo, today I am urging New Yorkers to stop using vape products while the investigation into the definitive cause of reported vaping-associated illnesses nationwide can be better determined. The Wadsworth Center, New York State’s public health laboratory, is diligently testing both cannabis and nicotine-containing vape products received from people experiencing serious lung-related illnesses.

“Rigorous testing also continues on all vape products currently authorized in the state’s highly regulated Medical Marijuana Program. There have been no adverse events related to vaping among certified patients in this program since this investigation began. However, out of an abundance of caution, we are also urging patients in the medical marijuana program to consult with their health care providers on potential alternatives to vaping products while the investigation continues. For additional information, patients can also contact the state’s Medical Marijuana Program at 844-863-9312.”

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Governor, NY counties don’t want federal cuts for hospitals

Staff Reports Posted 5 September 2019 at 4:38 pm

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Association of Counties both issued statements today opposing cuts in federal Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital payments to hospitals.

“New York State hospitals receive more than $1.8 billion annually in DSH payments and proposed cuts by Congress will have a devastating impact on our health care system,” said Stephan Acquario, executive director for NYSAC.

“Fiscally strong hospitals are the cornerstone of a comprehensive and accessible health care system for patients, especially low-income and vulnerable populations, throughout this great state and across the nation,” Acquario said. “NYSAC, along with the National Association of Counties, has opposed these cuts in the past and will continue to do so.”

Congress delayed implementation of these federal funding cuts each year since 2014, but they are set to begin October 1, 2019 if no further action is taken by Congress to again delay the cuts.

“The impending Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital program cuts would decimate hospitals that provide uncompensated care to uninsured and low-income New Yorkers by taking away over $2.6 billion over the next 18 months and more than $14.5 billion cumulatively through 2025,” Cuomo said.

“Health care is a right, not a privilege, and Congress must stand up for the safety of our most vulnerable neighbors,” he said. “I am calling on Congress to immediately rescind these impending cuts before they take effect on October 1st. If they don’t, they will put critical health care services at risk for millions of New Yorkers.”

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Oak Orchard Health receives $82K quality improvement award

Posted 31 August 2019 at 1:42 pm

Press Release, Oak Orchard Health

BROCKPORT – Oak Orchard Health has received an $82,503 Quality Improvement Award from U.S. Health and Human Services.

OOH was recognized in three categories: Clinical Quality Improver, Advancing Health IT, and delivering Patient-Centered Care.

Quality Improvement Awards are given to the highest performing health centers nationwide as well as those health centers that have made significant quality improvement gains from the previous year. Patient Centered Medical Home is a model of care that puts patients at the center of care, which builds great relationships between patients and their clinical staff.

The National Committee for Quality Assurance commended Oak Orchard Community Health Center on Achievement of Recognition for Systematic Use of Patient-Centered, Coordinated Care Management Processes.

Oak Orchard Health – with locations in Brockport, Albion, Lyndonville, Warsaw and Hornell – was one of the centers receiving this certificate of recognition in all locations. Oak Orchard Health was recognized and awarded for their high quality work in being a PCMH. OOH has been a Patient Centered Medical Home since 1973.

“Oak Orchard Health has always endeavored to put our patients first,” said Mary Ann Pettibon, CEO of Oak Orchard Health. “It’s great to be recognized for something that has always been a core part of our mission.”

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Local health departments urge vaccines to protect against serious diseases

Posted 18 August 2019 at 9:14 am

Press Release, Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments

August is recognized as National Immunization Awareness Month. Today’s vaccines protect against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, including polio, measles, whooping cough, and chickenpox. Because of advances in medical science, your children and family can be protected against more diseases than ever before

Paul Pettit, Public Health Director of Genesee and Orleans Counties has continually supported vaccination and vaccine education in our communities and believes vaccines are the best defense against preventable diseases.

“Vaccination is safe and effective,” Pettit said. “All vaccines undergo long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and the federal government to make sure they are safe.”

Immunizations are important for a variety of reasons. When you get vaccinated, you not only protect yourself but you also help protect the people around you who might be too young or too sick to get vaccinated themselves. This is called “community immunity” or “herd immunity.” If enough people stop getting vaccinated, more outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, will occur.

On June 13, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation removing non-medical exemptions from school vaccination requirements for children. Public Health Law §2164(1)(a) defines “school” to include any public, private or parochial child caring center, day nursery, day care agency, nursery school, kindergarten, elementary, intermediate or secondary school.

This means that if your child does not have a medical exemption, your child must receive vaccines in order to attend school. This new law will help protect against vaccine-preventable diseases within our communities.

From infants to senior citizens, getting vaccines on time is one of the important ways to protect yourself and your family from serious diseases and infections. The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments encourage you to talk to your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional to ensure that you and your family are up to date on recommended vaccines.

We also encourage you to visit CDC’s Interactive Vaccine Guide, which provides information on the vaccines recommended during pregnancy and throughout your child’s life. Adults can use the CDC’s adult vaccine assessment tool to see which vaccines might be right for you.

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‘Shannon’s Law’ requires large group insurers in NY to cover mammograms for women ages 35-39

Posted 2 August 2019 at 11:09 am

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation further strengthening women’s health care protections. The bill (S.3852-A/A.5502-A) requires large group insurers to cover medically necessary mammograms for women aged 35 to 39.

The legislation, known as “Shannon’s Law,” is named for Shannon Saturno of Babylon, Long Island, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at 28 years old and passed away at 31.

“We know that with cancer diagnoses, early detection is the best possible treatment. This administration has taken and will continue to take aggressive action to break down any barriers to breast cancer screenings for women across the state,” said Governor Cuomo. “By signing this legislation, we are taking another step to break down barriers to breast cancer screening and improve access to health care for all women in New York.”

Currently, many insurance companies are only required to cover annual mammogram screenings for women over the age of 40, but over 12,000 cases of breast cancer are detected annually are in women under the age of 40 and are oftentimes in later stages and more aggressive forms of cancer.

Shannon’s Law will require large group insurance companies to cover annual mammogram screenings for women aged 35 to 39 when medically necessary.

“We are continuing to double down on our efforts to expand access to potentially life-saving services,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “We know mammograms and cancer screenings must be available for all New Yorkers, and this law will help to ensure coverage, early detection, and treatment. We are committed to promoting breast cancer screenings statewide and continuing to save lives.”

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