Monday, March 12, 2007

Spitzer to release health care plan

AP Story we go....showdown time......fasten your seat belts.....there is major turbulence ahead.........andy

ALBANY - Schools, homes and workplaces will become the targets of new efforts to make New York the "the healthiest state," under proposals by Gov. Eliot Spitzer scheduled for release today. "Health problems block the learning of too many children," said state Education Commissioner Richard Mills, when told of the proposals. "That's why the Regents and I have been advocating for stronger collaborations between educators and health providers, both at the state and local levels. I look forward to working with the governor on this critical issue." Spitzer said it was part of his effort to alter the direction of health care, shifting the focus from facilities to patients and preventive care. The programs are being announced just as Spitzer faces perhaps his biggest challenge so far, in a battle with the legislature over his proposal to cut health care spending by $1.2 billion. Spitzer said he can redirect funding to be more effective for patients while cutting waste. Lawmakers are fighting the proposal, which would result in the closing of some hospitals. Russell Sciandra of the Center for a Tobacco Free New York said he hasn't seen the antismoking proposals, but said they match the goals of a state advisory group on which he sits. "This is certainly in line with the kind of activities we'd like to see," he said.HEALTH HIGHLIGHTSThe initiatives, supported by $200 million in Spitzer's 2007-08 budget proposal, include:Requiring "body mass index" reporting in schools, which calculates the ratio of height to weight. New antismoking initiatives, including "aggressively promoting" stop-smoking treatments to New Yorkers in state-funded health programs for the poor and working poor. Expanding access to the vaccine that can prevent cervical cancer. Further targeting HIV/AIDS programs in minority communities. Eliminating trans-fat products in state agencies' next food contracts. Improving the training of cancer screeners. Creating a home-visit program for new mothers in poor communities. Encouraging physical fitness among state employees. Reducing the use of toxic chemicals and toxic pest controls in public buildings and schools

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