Your Weekly Dose of Health September 4, 2015

During the month of August, 677 New Yorkers used the Partnership for Prescription Assistance’s (PPA) website or hotline to find out if they qualified for any of the 475 public and private patient assistance programs offered by the PPA. Of these 677 New Yorkers, 99% were matched with the assistance program that’s right for them, giving them access to prescription medicines for free or nearly free. Too see if you qualify for any assistance programs, visit or call 888 4 PPA Now.

Governor Cuomo this week announced a $20 million investment for additional mental health services in New York State.  These services include mobile mental health units across the state, as well as residential programs.  The mobile units are already active in many upstate communities according to the Watertown Daily Times.

Hillary Clinton detailed her plan to combat the growing problem of substance abuse in an op-ed for the New Hampshire Union Leader.  Her strategy includes five basic goals.  They are: “empower communities to prevent drug use among teenagers; ensure every person suffering from addiction can obtain comprehensive treatment; ensure that all first responders carry naloxone, which can stop overdoses from becoming fatal; require health care providers to receive training in recognizing substance use disorders and to consult a prescription drug monitoring program before prescribing controlled substances; and prioritize treatment over prison for low-level and nonviolent drug offenders, so we can end the era of mass incarceration.”

Members of Congress held a press conference in New York City this week to push to make the James Zedroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act permanent.  If it is not renewed, it will expire in October of 2016.

In New York State, the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services will introduce new programs to fight addiction and substance abuse.  They are spending an additional $10 million on a number of treatment programs.

New York City Health Department officials discovered Legionnaire’s disease in the South Bronx.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that Deputy Mayor Richard Buery will be in charge of mental health reform, working alongside first lady Chirlane McCray.

Step therapy policy in New York requires patients to try and fail one or more, typically lower cost, medications before the insurance companies allow them to “step up” to another, more expensive medication. Click on the video below to learn more about this dangerous policy.