June 10, 2014
New York data show most vets get timely visits
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Federal data show nine veterans' medical centers in New York scheduling 95 percent or more of their patients for appointments within 30 days, though hundreds are waiting longer at each facility.
The report from the Department of Veterans Affairs shows the centers in the Bronx, Hudson Valley and New York City seeing all but 1 percent of their patients within that span.
It shows the centers in Northport on Long Island and Canandaigua in the Finger Lakes region scheduling 98 percent of its patients within 30 days, while the rate in Albany and Buffalo was 97 percent.
The lowest rate, 95 percent, was reported for facilities in Syracuse and at Bath in the Southern Tier.
The data from May 15 show most patients scheduled within VA guideline of 14 days.
VA: audit shows long waits at Philadelphia center
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Department of Veterans Affairs has found that in Pennsylvania the Philadelphia facility has the most new enrollees waiting 60 days or more for an appointment.
The audit released Monday says the Philadelphia VA had 1,141 new enrollees wait more than 60 days for an appointment, while Pittsburgh had 443.
At the Wilkes-Barre, Coatesville and Erie VA 99 percent of all appointments were scheduled in under 30 days, compared to 98 percent at the Pittsburgh VA and 94 percent at the Philadelphia VA.
The audit found that several VA centers in Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, will require additional review and further actions.
Nationally 13 percent of VA schedulers reported supervisors telling them to falsify appointment dates to make waiting times appear shorter.
NY Senate passes bills to curb heroin scourge
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's Republican-led Senate has passed a series of bills to curb heroin use.
On Monday the Senate passed 23 of the 25 bills introduced last month following a series of forums around the state on heroin and opioid use.
The legislative package seeks to limit prescriptions of opioids for acute pain and allow schools to administer naloxone— an antidote for heroin and opioid overdoses.
It also creates a statewide heroin awareness program and increases penalties for selling drugs on playgrounds.
With more than 30 heroin-related bills in the upper chamber from both sides of the aisle, some Democrats are wary that some of the measures are reminiscent of Rockefeller drug laws and simply increase criminal penalties.
The bills go to the Democratic-led Assembly, which is currently holding its own heroin forums.
Family leave gets push in NY as session winds down
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Supporters are making a final push to pass paid family leave legislation in New York state as state lawmakers enter their final weeks of work.
Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins joined advocates of the measure Monday to call on her colleagues to pass the bill before adjourning later this month.
The proposal would extend up to 12 weeks of paid time off for employees caring for a new child or sick loved one. It would be funded through a paycheck deduction that would start at 45 cents per week.
The bill passed the state Assembly in March. The Legislature expects to adjourn its session on June 19.
California, New Jersey and Rhode Island already have paid family leave laws.
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