Governor Cuomo: We have that now with the New York City subway system. Daily News did a front page story, which crystallized it, but it had been happening for weeks. And no one anticipated it, but you have a virus outbreak and conditions on the New York City subway system, for a variety of reasons, have rapidly deteriorated. When you think about what happened you can put it together in the retrospective. The COVID outbreak happens. New York City's a place of density, subways, buses are a place of density. MTA employees who run that system, care for that system, get sick, call in sick as they should. They don't want to infect other people. The number of MTA employees comes down. Number of NYPD, New York Police Department, they get sick, their numbers come down. You now have fewer MTA workers, you have fewer NYPD workers on the trains and in the stations. We have now a greater need than ever to disinfect the subways, the buses, and the stations. Why? Because you're in the middle of a pandemic, this is a place of density and you have thousands and thousands of people going through these subway stations, these turnstiles and these buses, trains and ADA vehicles. Because MTA workers are sick, NYPD officers are sick you have fewer people to monitor and maintain the system. This all happens in the midst of a public health emergency.
Thursday, April 30, 2020
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that TORRIE JOHNSON was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 78 months in prison for trafficking 25 firearms from South Carolina into New York City. In May 2019, JOHNSON was arrested, charged, and detained. In January 2020, JOHNSON pled guilty to one count of firearms trafficking before United States District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, who also imposed the sentence.
Israel’s Largest Bank, Bank Hapoalim, Admits To Conspiring With U.S. Taxpayers To Hide Assets And Income In Offshore Accounts
Bank Hapoalim (Switzerland) Pleads Guilty and Bank Hapoalim B.M. Enters into Deferred Prosecution Agreement for Criminal Misconduct; Agree to Pay Nearly $875 Million
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Jeffrey A. Rosen, the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, Richard E. Zuckerman, the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, and Don Fort, the Chief of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”), announced today the guilty plea of Bank Hapoalim (Switzerland) Ltd. and entry of criminal charges against Bank Hapoalim B.M. for conspiring with U.S. taxpayers and others to hide more than $7.6 billion in more than 5,500 secret Swiss and Israeli bank accounts and the income generated in these accounts from the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”).
Attorney General James Calls on Cable and Satellite Providers to Cut Fees and Provide Financial Relief to Consumers
AG Sends Letters to Seven Major Cable and Satellite Providers in New York to Reduce High Fees Until Live Sports Return
New York Attorney General Letitia James today called on seven major cable and satellite television providers in New York to provide financial relief for consumers amidst the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic by reducing or eliminating fees attributable to live sports programming. Despite the fact that all live sporting events in the United States have been cancelled, cable and satellite television providers continue to charge and collect high fees for live sports programming and refuse to reduce the cost of packages that normally include live sports programming. In letters to Altice USA, AT&T Inc., Charter Communications, Comcast Cable, DISH Network, RCN Corporation, and Verizon Communications, Attorney General James requested that the companies immediately prepare and provide plans to the Attorney General’s Office for how they will provide financial relief to consumers until live sports programming is resumed.
“At a time when so many New Yorkers have lost their jobs and are struggling, it is grossly unfair that cable and satellite television providers would continue to charge fees for services they are not even providing,” said Attorney General James. “These companies must step up and immediately propose plans to cut charges and provide much needed financial relief. This crisis has brought new economic anxiety for all New Yorkers, and I will continue to protect the wallets of working people at every turn.”
Cable and satellite television subscribers pay up to $20 a month in extra fees to access live sporting events, but even with the cancellation of all live sporting events in the United States, cable and satellite television providers are still charging consumers the same amounts and refusing to provide refunds or cancellations.
In her letter to these cable and satellite television providers, Attorney General James requested that these companies prepare and provide a plan for “appropriate refunds, discounts and reductions of charges and fees, payment deferrals, and waiver of termination fees, at least until live sports programming is resumed.”
With more than 1.2 million New Yorkers losing their jobs and countless more in financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, Attorney General James urged these companies to act to minimize the financial burdens on consumers.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: I think we have the Mayor, who is on the telephone or some electronic means – there he is. Mayor Bill de Blasio, welcome to Albany.
Mayor Bill de Blasio: It’s a pleasure to be with you. Governor, I want to add to that point you made about all of us, together, doing something different, doing something necessary, and being willing together to go someplace we've never been before. You and I have talked about this kind of idea a lot over the years. You know, I think when we first met each other, the word disruption was considered a bad thing. In recent years, it's taken on a very positive connotation, that when we disrupt something that isn't working or has been thought about in a very narrow way and we go someplace new and better, that's a positive. And I think what we're talking about today is exactly that, and I commend you and everyone at the MTA. And I want to talk about why I think this plan is so important in terms of our essential workers, our first responders, our health care heroes, why I think is so important in terms of also addressing homelessness in a new and powerful way.
But I first want to say, I want to express my appreciation along with you. Really appreciate – back on one of your previous topics – the contact tracing. Really appreciate that my predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, is stepping up in such a big way for New York City and New York State. And the contact tracing, the test and trace approach is going to change everything. You and I are united in that as well, the aggressive approach. In fact, Governor, New York City, right now, is hiring a thousand contact tracers with health care backgrounds to supercharge this effort. And I think we are going to be able to show this country a model that's going to be extraordinarily effective in beating back this disease. So, I look forward to that partnership as well.
But right here on the issue of the MTA, we've all been throwing the biggest curve ball in our lives with this pandemic. But look at the consistent heroism of the health care workers, the first responders, the grocery store workers, the pharmacists, everyone who came forward. And Governor, I know you feel it too, it’s probably the proudest moment we've had as public servants in this state, in this city, watching the heroism of these New Yorkers who have stepped up. Now, we owe it to them to understand their lives and the notion that they have a daily routine where they go into battle, they go toward the danger, they go where they infection is, which so many people couldn't even imagine, but that's what these heroes are doing. We owe it to them to support them in every way possible. You and I have talked many times about the PPEs and the basic protections, but we also owe it to them to be safe on the way to work, on the way back home to their families. So, I think what we're doing here in partnership is exactly the right thing, to say we're going to find a way to make our subway system cleaner than it's probably ever been in its history, honestly, and address this crisis in a whole new way. I agree with that and I commend you for it. And yeah, it took some disruption to say we're going to do something there in this pandemic we've never done before, but it makes sense when it comes to protecting our heroes.
The second point, homelessness – look, another issue you and I [inaudible] decades. While we know it's been in many ways an intractable issue, because there wasn't always an impulse to disrupt, and here is an example of saying, look, we now have found new ways to get street homeless people off the street. And I want to commend Commissioner Dermot Shea and everyone at the NYPD who's really focused on how to help the homeless; Commissioner Steve Banks, everyone at homeless services and social services; and all those – also, those heroic outreach workers. Governor, you know about this work – we go out there day after day to engage homeless people on the streets and the subway, get their trust and get them to come in to shelter and ultimately to permanent housing. This work has always been in some ways stymied by the reality of a homeless person who is struggling with everything they're dealing with – a mental health challenge, a substance abuse challenge, riding the subway all night long. We're New Yorkers, we know about this reality, and it's been put in a stark light by this crisis like so many other challenges and disparities have. Well, it's an unacceptable reality and this new plan will disrupt that unacceptable reality and allow us to actually get help to people more effectively, because if you're not going back and forth all night on a train, then you actually are coming above ground where outreach workers are there to help you, where NYPD officer's training in the homeless outreach are there to support homeless people and get them to a better situation.
Governor, you know, for decades in this city, somehow homeless encampments were actually tolerated. People thought, oh, it's the kind of thing – what can we do about that? I'm proud to say, in the last few years, homeless services, NYPD, nonprofit organizations, we got together and we said we're not allowing that anymore. We shut them down and we found it actually helped us to get the homeless to the help they need. This is another example of that. So, I want to let you know that as we all talked about this idea – and I commend you, your team and Albany, and, obviously, the team at the MTA, Pat Foye, Sarah Feinberg – it's been a very productive conversation these last few days. And what I think we've come to, to get there is, yeah, we're going to do something unprecedented, we're going do something because of an emergency, but we're also going do something that's going to protect people and offer a new way to get people help who never got enough.
And so, Governor, thank you. I think this is a partnership – you're right, it's not going to be easy. No one said it was going to be easy, but you have my full commitment, the commitment of the City, the commitment of the NYPD, and all of our agencies. We're going to make this work together and we're going to be able to look back and say we did something that actually changed people's lives for the better. And as long as it takes, we're going to stand with you and get this done.
Governor Cuomo: Thank you. Thank you very much, Mayor de Blasio.
New bill caps New Yorkers cost-sharing to $30 per type of insulin per month to further protect New Yorkers from having to ration the life-saving medication
This week, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the Senate Health Committee, introduced a new bill in the State Senate as part of his Insulin For All package, (S.8255). This bill will further reduce the cap on cost-sharing for insulin from the current $100 per type of insulin per month to $30 per type of insulin per month.
This new measure builds on the important step taken by New York State to enact a $100 cap on each type of insulin per month during the 2020-21 New York State Budget. Yet, people with diabetes often rely on two or three different types of insulin, which could result in a $200 to $300 out-of-pocket monthly expense. This legislation caps insulin copays and deductibles to $30 per insulin per month, which is more in line with Senator Rivera's original legislation, S.6492A, as well as similar measures initiated by several states across the country to address skyrocketing insulin prices. For example, Utah recently adopted a $30 copay cap while states such as New Mexico, Virginia, California, and Connecticut are all in various stages of passing and adopting copay caps ranging from $25 to $50 per insulin type.
"The high cost of insulin is putting the lives of diabetic New Yorkers at risk, especially of those who are financially strained," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the Senate Health Committee. "While we took a very important first step during this year's budget, it is certainly not enough. This bill, along with the rest of the Insulin For All legislative package, will make insulin more affordable and accessible for diabetic New Yorkers, while moving New York State in the right direction."
According to the American Diabetes Association, the average cost of insulin tripled in less than a decade and New Yorkers with diabetes face medical expenses approximately 2.3 times higher than those who do not have diabetes. Consequently, this has led to patients rationing the small amount of medication they can afford. Unfortunately, complications from rationing insulin are extreme and in some cases result in amputations, diabetic ketoacidosis, and even death. The skyrocketing cost of insulin is not related to advances or changes to the drug, only to enhance profit margins in this country despite drastically lower prices in other countries for the same products. To further increase access to affordable insulin to diabetic New Yorkers who are insured, underinsured, and uninsured, Senator Rivera sponsors two other bills under his Insulin For All package:
- S.6492A: Ensures access to insulin for New Yorkers by creating a drug assistance demonstration program and allowing for emergency refills of expired prescriptions in certain cases.
- S.7771: Creates an Emergency Insulin Program so uninsured or underinsured New Yorkers can get analog insulins at certain pharmacies when in need.
"New York #insulin4all applauds the work of Senator Gustavo Rivera's Office to ensure that insulin, a life-saving and life-sustaining medication that costs just dollars to make, is affordable to every New York state resident who needs it to live during this exceptional time. The list price of insulin has increased over 1200% in the last two decades causing as many as 1 in 4 people with type 1 diabetes to ration insulin in the years leading up to this crisis, putting them at increased risk for potentially fatal complications including DKA. Lowering the copay price to $30 per prescription brings us one step closer to #insulin4all. However, not every New York State resident has the private, employer-sponsored health insurance that this important law regulates. We will continue partnering with Senator Rivera to ensure the passage of progressive legislation including the Insulin Drug Assistance Demonstration Program which paves the way to financially assist all uninsured and underinsured diabetics in New York State afford insulin. We work across city and state to make sure all people living with insulin-dependent diabetes, including those who are currently uninsured after losing their job amidst Covid-19, are able to afford the medications they need to survive," said Karlynn Holland, Chapter Leader, New York #insulin4all
Today, franchise new car auto dealers in the Bronx, working through the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association (GNYADA), delivered a donation of 50,000 face masks to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s office.
The borough president will distribute the supply of 3-ply paper masks to Bronx residents who need them most, including seniors, essential workers, and other vulnerable populations.
It is part of a donation of half a million masks GNYADA is making to 12 downstate counties, including New York City.
“The Greater New York Automobile Association has ensured that thousands of Bronxites will be safer from the spread of COVID-19 infection with their generous donation of 50,000 face masks,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “We thank them for their support as we continue to work to meet the urgent needs of all Bronxites struggling with the tragic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are determined to persevere through this unprecedented public health crisis collectively as a united caring community, and this essential partnership with GNYADA will help us do to just that.”
“When New Yorkers are in need, time and again, franchise new car dealers and their employees are always there for the communities where they live and work. Auto dealers are the brick-and-mortar backbones of Main Streets and neighborhoods throughout the region, supporting little leagues, hospitals, schools, senior centers, and many charities large and small,” said GNYADA President Mark Schienberg. “During this extremely challenging time, when so many New Yorkers are suffering, losing loved ones, losing jobs, and struggling, car dealerships are once again here to contribute.”
Franchised new car dealers collectively are the fifth largest retail employer throughout the downstate region, helping to support 71,280 jobs, contributing $2.5 billion in local and state taxes, and supporting a total payroll of $4.5 billion, according to an economic impact survey conducted in 2019.
Above, and Below - As quick as the face masks were unloaded into the basement of the Bronx Courthouse, they were loaded into a van for delivery.
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
MAYOR DE BLASIO ANNOUNCES COVID-19 ANTIBODY TESTING FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS AND FRONTLINE FIRST RESPONDERS
City will offer free antibody testing to first responders and healthcare workers through two partnerships with NYC Health + Hospitals, CDC, and U.S. Dept of Health
Mayor de Blasio today announced antibody testing for first responders on the frontlines of the COVID-19 epidemic. NYC Health + Hospitals will begin offering free COVID-19 antibody tests to all of its healthcare workers across its 11 hospitals. Through a partnership with the US Department of Health and Human Services and CDC, the City will also offer testing for any healthcare worker or first responder across the FDNY, DOC, NYPD, and hospitals citywide.
"Our first responders have worked around the clock to keep New Yorkers safe from the virus," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "While antibody tests are not a fix-all solution, they will give our heroes the knowledge and confidence they need to help us defeat the virus."
We are committed to the health and wellness of our heroic workforce during this public health crisis, and antibody testing provides our employees with additional information about their potential exposure to Covid-19,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “This new program complements our existing system-wide employee testing program, and all tests results will be completely confidential.”
Testing through NYC Health + Hospitals will be prioritized for those working in high-exposure environments such as ICUs, emergency departments and labor and delivery departments. Tests will be offered on an appointment-only basis, and available across 11 NYC Health + Hospitals locations and 7 community-based Gotham Health centers by mix-next week. Employees can schedule an antibody test appointment through a dedicated employee hotline.
Antibody testing will not be used to determine whether employees can work. Test results are confidential and will not be shared with an employee’s work supervisor or Occupational Health Services (OHS) unless employees choose to disclose this information. At full capacity, approximately 400 employees can be tested at each acute hospital each day.
MAYOR DE BLASIO, FIRST LADY MCCRAY ANNOUNCE A COLLABORATION WITH U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE TO HELP HEALTH CARE WORKERS ON THE FRONTLINES COPE WITH STRESS
City to provide additional emotional and mental support for frontline healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19
Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray today announced a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), NYC Health + Hospitals, and Greater New York Hospital Association (GHNYA) to provide mental health programs to support health care workers and first responders on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new program will tailor elements of the US DoD’s combat stress management and resilience program for military personnel into needs assessments and a webinar training series to be used in civilian healthcare and first responder settings across the city. Trainings are expected to be available by the end of the month.
“Our frontline heroes are fighting a war on two fronts,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “They have been through so much to protect their fellow New Yorkers, and we will not allow them to shoulder the mental toll of this pandemic alone. To those who are struggling: your city hears you, we see you, and help is on the way.”
"Our city's medical professionals are laboring long days and nights under extraordinary circumstances, caring for our families and loved ones. It’s a different kind of war, but they are truly soldiers," said First Lady Chirlane McCray. "As they continue caring for New Yorkers, we must care for them and their well-being. Their service goes beyond anything we could have asked for, and their mental health needs should not be overlooked. This partnership will ensure our healthcare workers on the frontlines have the support they need, now and after this crisis."
Behavioral health and staff support leaders at local hospitals will receive formal training from military subject matter experts. Those who receive training will facilitate trainings to mental health specialists, spiritual care and second victim program leads at their respective health care systems. The ‘Train the Trainer’ education will be available virtually on GHNYA hosted webinars for all participating NYC healthcare systems. To better support health care workers, in-person and virtual training sessions can be customized based on targeted needs assessments.
The US Department of Defense-led webinar trainings will begin late next month for health care systems. NYC Health + Hospitals will begin to deploy trainers for facility-based trainings in early June.
This work builds upon NYC Health + Hospitals’ established “Help Healers Heal” program. The program offers frontline health care workers direct mental health support in the form of a dedicated, 24/7 behavioral health helpline staffed by psychiatrists/psychologists; peer support champions for one-on-one or group support; and 26 wellness areas across 11 hospitals and five skilled nursing facilities for staff to take a break from patient care areas. The program also supports wellness rounds at all facilities to actively engage employees working in areas heavily affected by COVID-19. Wellness rounds focus on identifying and supporting employees showing symptoms of anxiety, depression, fatigue and burnout, and connecting them to services if requested—including one-on-one telephonic, in-person debrief, or anonymous counseling.
“We are in the epicenter of this pandemic and our heroic healthcare workers are on the front lines providing lifesaving support to New Yorkers. Our providers are experiencing an immense amount of emotional-psychological trauma and stress, especially at our hardest-hit hospitals," said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “At NYC Health + Hospitals, we value each employee and we are grateful to the Mayor and DoD that we will able to support our workforce as they began to process, heal and move forward.”
“As our healthcare workers and first responders continue to battle on the front lines of our fight against COVID-19, we want to make sure we can take care of their emotional and psychological well-being. This program will be a cornerstone in helping them to navigate these traumatic events, and we are thankful to the DoD for lending their expertise to support the mental health of our heroes,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell.
“Paramedics, EMTs, and all healthcare workers in New York City have been on the frontlines of this pandemic for weeks now. Though they have seen so much pain and loss, they continue to answer the call by caring for their patients every single day,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “This partnership with the DoD will provide important additional mental healthcare and support for those heroic men and women bravely going into harm’s way for our city.”