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A Healthcare Week

January 13, 2023 pm31 7:38 pm

Medicare Advantage Hearing

On Monday the NYC City Council held a hearing on Medicare Advantage. It was technically a hearing about amending NYC Administrative Code Section 12-126, but everyone knew it was just about forcing retirees off of Medicare into Medicare Advantage. The hearing went on for almost 12 hours. I joined about 15 minutes in (via zoom) and stayed to the bitter end.

Mulgrew and the MLC testified in favor of forcing retirees into Medicare Advantage. So did a panel of UFT/Unity loyalists (including ex-officers). And of course the Office of Labor Relations (OLR) did, too. One of the funniest moments came when OLR Deputy Commissioner Claire Levitt said that retirees did not need to worry about prior authorizations. Chair Carmen de la Rosa issued a warning – not to Levitt for outrageous and insulting lie, but to the audience, who broke into spontaneous laughter.

I probably should have signed up to speak, but I didn’t. I paid attention, listened closely. I texted people in the room to get some clarifications. But I didn’t testify in person or by zoom. So I thought I’d better submit written testimony – which I did.

Nurses Strike

Nurses (NYSNA) at Montefiore and Mount Sinai struck on Monday. Primary issue? Staffing levels. Understaffing compromises patient care, and burns out nurses. Understaffing means nurses can be recruited, but move on – retention is horrible. “Safe staffing – Saves lives!” was the number one chant.

By the way, the need to work at RETENTION (recruitment is important, but it means nothing without retention) has been a massive failure for at least the last two decades in the New York City Department of Education, and has received far too little attention from my union, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). In fact, when I started blogging, almost twenty years ago, I wrote about retention, that the nurses are paying such close attention to today. I sensed the Department and the union were focused only on recruitment, and without retention initiatives that would just lead to a revolving door, which remains a problem today, and hurts all of us. Anyway, back to the strike…

I live close enough to one of the Montefiore campuses. Monday I was busy. But Tuesday I walked to the picket line. And Wednesday I went back – agreed with some folks to go at 7, and then shifted to noon. There were bucket loads of politicians. Carmen de la Rosa, Adrienne Adams, Eric Dinowitz – all of whom I’d seen on the zoom on Monday. There were assembly people, other council people, and state senators, including my current – Gustavo Rivera, and my former – Jamaal Bailey. And other union people. And this woman, below, who gave a good speech. Sorry I don’t take a great video, but watch, if you can bear to.

The strike was settled Wednesday night. Nurses won, and returned to work on Thursday.

Other Health

And today I went to the doctor. Dermatologist. Annual visit. Checked out ok.

That makes this a pretty full healthcare week.

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