Health Updates

Press Coverage
ABC7
Friday, June 16, 2017

The New York City Health Department announced the community cluster of the disease Friday. All seven cases have been confirmed in the last seven days. The area impacted is the Lenox Hill neighborhood, which runs from East 60th Street to East 77th Street.

Four of those infected with the disease are still hospitalized, two have been discharged and the person who died was in his/her 90s and had significant underlying health conditions.

Legionnaires' disease is caused when water tainted with Legionella bacteria is inhaled into the lungs. It's a severe form of pneumonia in which the lungs become inflamed due to infection.

The health department said symptoms include fever, cough, chills, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion and diarrhea. Symptoms usually appear two to 10 days after significant exposure to Legionella bacteria.

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Press Release
Friday, June 16, 2017

Notice to Residents of Lenox Hill

The Health Department is investigating a cluster of Legionnaires’ disease in a section of Lenox Hill. Seven people have been confirmed with Legionnaires’ disease in the last 11 days. The risk to most people is low, but if you have flu-like symptoms, please see your medical provider.

What is Legionnaires’ disease?
Legionnaires’ disease (or Legionellosis) is a type of pneumonia. It is caused by bacteria (Legionella) that grow in warm water.

Is the disease contagious?
No. Legionnaires’ disease is not spread from person to person. People only get sick by breathing in water vapor containing the bacteria. People who are sick cannot make others sick.

Who is at risk?
Groups at high risk include people who are middle-aged or older—especially cigarette smokers—people with chronic lung disease or weakened immune systems and people who take medicines that weaken their immune systems (immunosuppressive drugs).

What are the symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease?
Symptoms are like the flu and can include fever, chills, muscle aches and cough. Some people may also have headaches, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion or diarrhea.

What should I do if I think I have Legionnaires’ disease?
If you have flu-like symptoms, seek medical attention right away, especially if you have a medical condition that affects your breathing, like emphysema, or if you are a smoker.

What is the treatment for Legionnaires’ disease?
The disease is treated with antibiotics. Most people get better with early treatment, although they may need to be hospitalized. Some people may get very sick or even die from complications of the disease. That’s why it is important to get medical help right away if you develop symptoms.

If you would like more information, please join us for a Community Meeting at:
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
331 East 70th Street
Monday, June 19
6:30PM
RSVP

Or, visit nyc.gov/health or call 311

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Press Release
Friday, June 16, 2017

STATEMENT: Legionnaires’ Disease Cluster on Upper East Side

"Upper East Siders should be looking out for signs of Legionnaires: a cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, and headaches. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should quickly seek medical attention," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "In 2015, following the outbreak in the Bronx I co-sponsored legislation introduced by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, which was signed into Local Law 77 of 2015 to require registration, inspection, cleaning, disinfecting, testing, and annual certification. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of the individual who passed away. We are working with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to identify the source as quickly as possible."

For more information:
Health Department Investigating Community Cluster of Legionnaires' Disease in Section of Lenox Hill in Manhattan at https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/about/press/pr2017/pr051-17.page

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Press Release
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

New York, NY – In spite of policies and funding to provide public school students with access to dental, vision, substance abuse, reproductive health vaccines, and contraception in their public schools' actual performance goes unmeasured with some services provided onsite, others offsite, and others not at all.
 
“The city has policies in place to provide every health service they need and expect parents to be satisfied knowing they exist. I am concerned that the city is giving parents a false sense of security when the truth is that we don’t know which public school students have access to which services,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “We should know exactly which health services are available to which public schools so that we can ensure all 1.1 million public school students have access to the health services they need.”
 
Under legislation proposed by Council Member Ben Kallos for each healthcare area the Department of Education would have to report on the service offered, the location of services as onsite or offsite, cost of services to students, and the number of participants receiving services at each public school. The Department of Education would also have to set annual strategies to increase access, special initiatives, pilot schools, comparison of pilot schools to standard schools and compare year to year performance.

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Press Coverage
GCN
Tuesday, October 18, 2016

State agencies can now leverage an open source tool to help ensure that individuals eligible for income-based human service benefits actually receive them.

The software is Benefit Assist, and it was first launched in 2015 by Intuit for that company’s TurboTax users. Benefit Assist sifts through tax information to help determine a person’s eligibility for benefits from programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid and Medicare.

Now, Intuit has partnered with New York City Council Member Ben Kallos and the federal government's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to make its eligibility software free and open source code, according to the company.

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Press Coverage
Potomac TechWire
Friday, October 14, 2016

(Washington, DC) The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Servicessaid it has teamed with financial software maker Intuit to release the company's Benefit Assist software as free, open source code on GitHub. The move will allow anyone to freely use, share and improve upon Benefit Assist. The goal is to help people more easily determine eligibility and apply for income-based government benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/Food Stamps and free mobile phone service.
https://github.com/CMSgov/BenefitAssist

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Press Release
Monday, October 3, 2016

http://benkallos.com/sites/default/files/DSNY_Letter_ZonedCollectionPlan_20160906_PW_JJ_BK.Final_docx.pdf	I am writing in response to the “Private Carting Study” released on August 17, 2016 to better understand how a potential zoned system would impact my residential district and the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station:

  • Will a zone collection system require private carters to dump commercial waste in the same zone where it is picked up?
  • Will a zone collection system require private carters who collect waste from multiple zones in Manhattan to dump all of their trash at the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station?
  • Will a zone collection system require private carters who collect waste from multiple zones spanning multiple boroughs to dump their trash at the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station?
  • Will a zone collection system preclude participating private carters from tipping in industrial zones outside New York City (like New Jersey where DSNY currently tips residential waste from Manhattan)?
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Press Release
Monday, February 8, 2016

The Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services (“ETHOS”) launched today by Council Member Ben Kallos, Council Member Dan Garodnick, State Senator Liz Krueger and Manhattan Borough Preisdent Gale Brewer with churches, synagogues, and non-profits devoted to addressing challenges facing the significant number of homeless people on the Upper East Side. The Taskforce, in formation over the past 4 months, will provide support for breakfast, lunch and dinner meals, food pantries, street outreach, legal services, substance abuse, medical, supportive housing and shelter services.

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Press Release
Thursday, February 4, 2016

"Retirement isn't something aging New Yorkers should have to worry about. We need pensions for all so New Yorkers can retire in security," said Council Member Ben Kallos, who helped develop the Retirement Security for All proposal while at Bill Samuels' EffectiveNY and will be introducing legislation to make it a reality. "Thank you to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Letitia James, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Council Member I. Daneek Miller for their leadership and partnership in bringing retirement security to the private sector and all New Yorkers."

 

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Press Coverage
Capital New York
Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ben Kallos, a Democrat from Manhattan, would like meals that are marketed to kids using toys or other promotional items include a serving of fruit, vegetables or whole grain. The so-called Happy Meals bill would also require that meals be limited to 500 calories, with fewer than 35 percent them coming from fat, fewer than 10 percent coming from saturated fat, fewer than 10 percent from added sugars and fewer than 600 milligrams of sodium.

Kallos cited a 2014 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which found more than one-in-five New York City children were obese, which the city’s health department believes leads to heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions.

“If we continue down this path, children in New York City will have shorter expected life spans than their parents,” Kallos said. “That’s not just depressing, that’s not acceptable.”

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Press Coverage
Politico
Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A City Council proposal to regulate foods that come with toys split members of the health committee on Tuesday and raised broader issues over what the de Blasio administration can and should do to combat childhood obesity.

Ben Kallos, a Democrat from Manhattan, would like meals that are marketed to kids using toys or other promotional items include a serving of fruit, vegetables or whole grain. The so-called Happy Meals bill would also require that meals be limited to 500 calories, with fewer than 35 percent them coming from fat, fewer than 10 percent coming from saturated fat, fewer than 10 percent from added sugars and fewer than 600 milligrams of sodium.

Kallos cited a 2014 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which found more than one-in-five New York City children were obese, which the city’s health department believes leads to heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions.

“If we continue down this path, children in New York City will have shorter expected life spans than their parents,” Kallos said. “That’s not just depressing, that’s not acceptable.”

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Press Coverage
New York Post
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A council bill would require any kids’ meal with an accompanying toy to be limited to no more than 500 calories and 600 milligrams of sodium, with no more than 35 percent of the calories from fat and no more than 10 percent from saturated fat or added sugar.

“We believe that restaurants will not be able to comply with, and the department will not be able to enforce, the bill’s requirements,’’ Angell testified.

Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), one of the bill’s sponsors, replied, “It’s hard for me to fathom that [the Health Department], which is in the business of doing this with sodium and trans fats . . . isn’t able to do this.”

The bill was first proposed in 2011. Since then, McDonald’s has spent more than $528,000 to lobby council members to block it.

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Press Coverage
Our Town
Tuesday, January 12, 2016

East side councilmember wants to meet every person in the district

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Press Release
Thursday, December 17, 2015

Inspiration

“I want us to ask ourselves every day, how are we using technology to make a real difference in people’s lives.” — President Barack Obama.

Executive Summary

We have the opportunity to help state and local governments dramatically improve the services they provide to citizens while saving money, if it acts to create and support implementation of the policy framework to enable “automatic benefits.”  Accomplishing these goals is now possible due to (1) the significant advancements in technology and responsible information sharing, and (2) leveraging open government data, to make data held by government reusable and accomplish the following priorities:

  • Universal Application - qualifies citizens for all the human services to which they are entitled based on the completion of a single form.
  • Automatic Renewal – renews people for services rather than depending upon them to reapply.
  • Automatic Benefits - use open government data (IRS, SSA, Human Services, etc.) to means test eligibility and automate the process of determination in order to deliver services for which people are eligible automatically.

We can advance automatic benefits at the federal, state and local level and create a lasting legacy for more open and effective government by:

1. Challenge the States to Use Existing Funding - The Federal government can lead the states by publicly challenging governors to use Affordable Care Act funding available until 2018 to reduce bureaucracy and waste by removing unnecessary paper work and rules in order to provide human service benefits to those who need them.

2. Integrate Automatic Benefits into Healthcare Exchanges - Upgrade HealthCare.gov so that applicants for health insurance are also screened, qualified and awarded all the other human services citizens qualify for in order to give them the comprehensive care they need to stay healthy.

3. Challenge the Private and Non-Profit Sector - Issue a challenge to states and locals to make the business rules underlying benefits decisions freely available as open data and invite the private and non-profit sector to innovate in delivery of government benefits, including by creating new kinds of eligibility apps.

4. Super Waiver – seeking a blanket waiver of any bureaucratic rules, identified below, that stand in the way of granting benefits to people who need them and following the framework laid out by automatic benefits legislation introduced in New York City.

President Obama has already laid the groundwork for “automatic benefits” through the Affordable Care Act, Executive Order 13563, Executive Memorandum, waivers, guidance and funding for each state to use integration and interoperability to improve delivery of federally-assisted human service benefits to their residents by leveraging information sharing across human service agencies to automatically recertify or provide benefits. Across the nation, states including California, Louisiana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New York have begun to implement one stop websites for multi-benefit screening and application, online and mobile phone apps for self-service case management and updates, eligibility systems and business rule engines (BREs), electronic evidence imaging, and electronic data matching to provide benefits automatically.

Automatic benefits have the advantage of decreasing interaction with bureaucracy and making government more efficient, effective, and humane. But without intervention, a handful of states may build automatic benefits with governors claiming credit individually, but the vast majority will miss the 2018 deadline, leaving much of America without the benefits they need.

Download the PDF

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Press Release
Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Big Apple Circus welcomes Guest Ringmaster New York City Council Member Ben Kallos of the 5th District to the Big Top at Lincoln Center on November 4, 2015 at 6:30pm for the company's 38th season with the World Premiere of its all-new show, The Grand Tour.

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Press Release
Friday, October 30, 2015

New York, NY –  Council Member Ben Kallos hosted an annual Senior Health Fair on Friday, October 30th at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House. Sixteen nonprofits, government agencies, and health institutions conducted screenings, provided informational materials and giveaways to the over 50 seniors in attendance, and no-cost flu shots.

“All New Yorkers should have access to health and wellness resources and services," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "It is especially crucial that we make these resources and services accessible to seniors. It was my pleasure to partner with nonprofits, government agencies, and health institutions throughout the City to bring this event to seniors in my district.”

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Press Release
Thursday, October 22, 2015

A domestic violence and family law clinic was announced yesterday by Council Member Ben Kallos to be offered in his district office in partnership with the Urban Justice Center (UJC). Occurring the second Monday of every month, the clinic will offer constituents the opportunity to meet with a staff member from UJC's Domestic Violence Project to discuss issues including child custody, divorce, identity theft, and domestic violence. Council District 5 residents can reserve hour-long, one-on-one appointments through the Council Member's office. The first session will take place on November 9th from 2pm to 6pm. 
“Sadly, no one can escape domestic violence by virtue of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or socioeconomic class; it happens to all people and this clinic is here to help," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "It is crucial that everyone has access to professional advice to help them understand their rights so they can protect their interests and the interests of their families. I am pleased to partner with the incredible team at the Urban Justice Center's Domestic Violence Project to make these resources available to my constituents.”

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Press Coverage
Christian Science Monitor
Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The New York City Council is once again deliberating the “Healthy Happy Meals” bill, a proposal that would set nutritional standards for the meals sold with toys in fast food restaurants.

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Press Coverage
CBS New York
Monday, August 31, 2015

Every parent knows the appeal fast food meals hold for kids, especially when there's a toy included in the deal.

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Press Coverage
NBC News 4 New York
Monday, August 31, 2015

A proposal that would force New York City's fast food restaurants to make their kids-themed meals healthier might actually have some benefit, researchers reported Monday.

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Press Release

Healthy Happy Meals legislation I introduced, could improve healthfulness of fast food for kids according to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Linking incentives like toys to children’s meals with healthy options by default in my legislation would not only lead to healthier ordering but increase revenues, a win for business, parents and children.”

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Press Coverage
International Business Times
Monday, August 31, 2015

The bill, which was proposed by New York City Council member Ben Kallos, also would limit the meals to 500 calories or less, with fewer than 35 percent of calories coming from fat, only as much as 10 percent from saturated fat, fewer than 10 percent from added sugars and no more than 600 milligrams of sodium.

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