April 29, 2021

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April 29, 2021                                                UPDATE ON EMBLEM HEALTH / GHI

From Lou Hollander keystonecop1@verizon.net

This is the update from Errol from the SBA regarding Emblem/GHI.  I’m pleased to say that 64 new doctors have been already accepted since the Emblem Panel has been reopened. The PBA and DEA MLC liaisons, Mr. Nicholson and Mr. Russo, were involved in having Emblem health reopen its panels as well.  This is a group effort now between all three police unions.   A special thanks to all three men for their efforts in helping us retirees.  
Negotiations are still going on and I will post all info that I receive as I receive it.
Bill McMahon

This is from an email from Emblem Health outlining instructions to nominate a provider for participation in the Emblem Health network.
We also requested and received a roster of GHI CBP Participating Providers and geo-search matching Florida plan participants to providers within 10 miles of their zip code. We found fault in this analysis as it used a provider list that was not updated nor verified.  We therefore requested a complete audit of providers -in fact status verifying their "active" participation in the GHI CBP networks and acceptance of new patients.
We believe if we verify what we currently have and work with members to aggressively add providers we can have a vibrant network of providers in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina amongst other regions.
I have the following information regarding adding providers to the Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina Emblem Health in network  medical panels.
We are pleased to announce that the process for GHI non-Medicare retirees nominating doctors with the intention of being added as CBP participating providers, has been restored as of today.
1.            EmblemHealth’s Customer Service, Provider Network and Grievance & Appeals advocates (representatives) have been informed that the network is in fact, open for provider nominations; letters will no longer state the network is closed.
2.            Members who wish to nominate their provider may contact EmblemHealth via telephone or email. If an Emblem advocate receives a call from a CNY PPO (GHI) Retiree member requesting information on how to nominate their provider for participation, advocates will:
               Confirm the member is an active CNY PPO Retiree plan member
Obtain the following information:
             Provider’s full name
             Practice name
             Contact person
             Telephone #
             Email the information to cityofnyretireesprovidernomination@emblemhealth.com
             If a member sends the request via a secure email from the portal, the correspondence advocate will:
             Review the request to ensure all the necessary information has been provided, see above
             If so, will forward the request to cityofnyretireesprovidernomination@emblemhealth.com
             If the request has incomplete provider information, a reply will be emailed to the member requesting the additional  information
Advocates will not send a letter to a CNY Retiree member indicating that their network is closed. If an Out of Network Provider calls requesting to join the CBP network, they will be directed to the EmblemHealth website, Provider Resources > Join Our Network page to access the Provider Credentialing Form: 
3.            Below are the updates implemented on our City of NY micro-site page www.emblemhealth.com/city:
On the member CBP page we posted
Nominate Your Providers!

Did you know that the EmblemHealth CBP Network is open to new providers? If you are a City of New York retiree who does not have Medicare, you can ask us to invite your doctor into our network. The process is simple—just send us an email to cityofnyretireesprovidernomination@emblemhealth.com and include the following information so we can reach out:
•             Full name of the provider you’re nominating
•             Practice name
•             Contact person
•             Address
•             Telephone #
•             Specialty

We can’t guarantee that they will join the network, but we will reach out to them on your behalf and offer them an invitation.

2. On the provider Join Our Networks page, we edited the copy to reflect this specific situation
Joining EmblemHealth HIP and GHI
To join the GHI PPO or EmblemHealth EPO/PPO National Network, please make sure you have reviewed the “Credentialing EmblemHealth Applicants” section above.
Our network in Florida is closed except for our CBP network* (non-Medicare City of New York retirees), primary care physicians, cardiologists, orthopedic surgeons and any provider that is joining a group that is already participating with EmblemHealth. The network outside of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida is currently closed unless the provider is joining a participating group. To join the GHI PPO or EmblemHealth EPO/PPO National Network, please make sure you have reviewed the “Credentialing EmblemHealth Applicants” section above.

*IMPORTANT NOTE: Our CBP Network, which primarily serves City of New York non-Medicare retirees, remains open to new providers. Members can nominate their provider for entry, and providers can submit applications for their practice(s.


Our Honorary Association Police Surgeon, Gerald Ente MD, has prepared an updated article regarding the latest COVID-19 pandemic and vaccinations. It can be viewed HERE

                                                            WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO DRINK WATER

With much thanks to our Association's Honorary Police Surgeon Gerald Ente MD

By: Arnaldo Liechtenstein, Physician

Whenever I teach clinical medicine to students in the fourth year of Medicine, I ask the following question: " What are the causes of mental confusion in the elderly?"  Some offer: "Tumors in the head". I answer: No!
Others suggest: "Early symptoms of Alzheimer's". I answer again: No! With each rejection of their answers, their responses dry up. And they are even more open-mouthed when I list the three most common causes: uncontrolled diabetes, urinary infection, and dehydration. It may sound like a joke, but it isn't. People over 60 generally stop feeling thirsty and consequently stop drinking fluids.
When no one is around to remind them to drink fluids, they quickly dehydrate. Dehydration is severe and affects the entire body It may cause abrupt mental confusion, a drop in blood pressure, increased heart palpitations, angina (chest pain), coma and even death.
*This habit of forgetting to drink fluids begins at age 60, when we have just over 50% of the water we should have in our bodies. People over 60 have a lower water reserve. This is part of the natural aging process.* But there are more complications. Although they are dehydrated, they don't feel like drinking water, because their internal balance mechanisms don't work very well.
Conclusion: People over 60 years old dehydrate easily, not only because they have a smaller water supply, but also because they do not feel the lack of water in the body.
Although people over 60 may look healthy, the performance of reactions and chemical functions can damage their entire body.
So here are two alerts:
1) *Get into the habit of drinking liquids*. Liquids include water, juices, teas, coconut water, milk, soups, and water-rich fruits, such as watermelon, melon, peaches and pineapple; Orange and tangerine also work. *The important thing is that, every two hours, you must drink some liquid.

Remember this!*

2) Alert for family members: constantly offer fluids to people over 60. At the same time, observe them.
If you realize that they are rejecting liquids and, from one day to the next, they are irritable, breathless or display a lack of attention, these are almost certainly recurrent symptoms of dehydration.
Inspired to drink more water now???  Your friends and family need to know for themselves and help you to be healthier and happier.

by Gerald Ente, MD

 Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

     As the USA death toll passed 500,000 [worldwide 2.5million], this was a perfect time for the FDA to give emergency use authorization to the new vaccine by Johnson & Johnson [ChAdOx1 nov-19{AZD1222}]. An addition to our present 2 working vaccines, both of which require 2 doses and complicated freezing, this vaccine is a single dose and can be kept in a standard refrigerator for a 6-month period.

     This is good news. It gives a major boost to our national vaccine shortage.  According to a major Public Health expert, we need to give 3 million doses of vaccine daily to get ahead of the rapidly spreading virus.  As of today, we are at 1.8 million, but our supply is short. To assist with speedy increased manufacture, Merck & Co. has joined with its competitor J&J to expand speedy production.

     The new vaccine may be given to any person over 18 years of age. The side effect profile is similar to the others. A major advantage is that it may be kept in a standard refrigerator for up to 6 months. It becomes effective after 28 days. It has been used in the UK for many months.  Its efficacy rate averages about 65% overall, 72% in the USA, to prevent disease. BUT IT IS 100% EFFECTIVE TO PREVENT DEATH, COMPLICATIONS OR HOSPITALIZATION.

     Vaccines have 2 effects. One is to prevent the disease and the other is to prevent the serious effects of a disease, such as death, hospitalization or complications like lung, heart, kidney, etc. disease. From my point of view, this new J&J vaccine meets the main purpose of this vaccine, which is to prevent serious damage. 50% of people who contact the disease are asymptomatic anyway.

     Remember that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are both mRNA types. This one from J&J is different. It is an adenovirus-replication-deficient type of vaccine. The adenovirus is extremely common causing lots of upper respiratory infections (colds), so that most of us already have immunity to it. Replication is the act of copying or reproducing something. So, here, they are letting the COVID-19 virus ride along with the adenovirus to which we are already immune. It is tricking our immune systems. This is the fourth adenovirus -based vaccine. These are now being used in 70 countries throughout the world. Although this is the first adenovirus-based vaccine approved in the USA, it has been successfully used against the Ebola virus and has been approved in Europe.

     J&J vaccine, called a vector type of vaccine, uses a common human adenovirus as its vector, namely adenovirus 26 [Ad26], similar to the Sputnik vaccine used in Russia. Remember last time we mentioned that the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, which probably will be available in the USA available next month, uses a chimpanzee adenovirus. Researchers try to use a virus which is common to a community so that there is immunity to the virus they choose as a vector [carrier]. Most often this vector is the adenovirus. Next, the researchers render the Adenovirus 26 replication-deficient, meaning that they make it so that it cannot reproduce in the vaccine recipient, by removing the 2 genes necessary for reproduction. Then they replace those with the gene, the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which they plan to use. Now, to be successful, the vaccine needs its virus to be able to copy itself in large volumes. To do this, J&J chose embryonic cell lines from human embryonic retinal cells. The Catholic church made a statement about this recently.

     Once the vaccine enters the muscle cells in the arm of the recipient, the infected muscle cells, and the immune system cells, both produce spike protein by activation of the immune system by the [impotent] adenovirus. Unlike the 2 other mRNA vaccine, this adenovirus vaccines uses a DNA pathway because when the DNA-based adenovirus vector enters our cells, it immediately proceeds to the cell nucleus where it serves as a blueprint to produce the mRNA of the SARS-CoV-2 which is then released into the cytoplasm of the cell.  Finally, this guides the production of the coronavirus spike protein, which ultimately causes our immune system to create immunity. So now you see why you may get a red, tender, and swollen and you may get tired and perhaps have a fever...lots going on here...maybe too much information, but this is how the new vaccine works. This process cannot cause any genetic changes.


           In general, vaccines prevent 2-3 million deaths per year...vaccines saved 37 million lives from 10 diseases from 2000 to 2019.
           In February, Black and Hispanic Medicare recipients were less accepting of COVID-19 vaccine because of trust issues.
           In March, White Republicans were found to be largest group of anti-vaxxers.[possibly related to the fact that ex-President Trump and wife secretly were vaccinated in December 2020.]
           About 1/3 in the USA are anti-vaxxers.
           President Biden says we shall have enough vaccines by the end of May for every adult American.
           Second vaccine shot may have more side effects because recipient now has some immunity.
           New Pfizer vaccines may be kept in a standard freezer rather than ultra-low-degree [-95] freezer for 2 weeks.
           Pfizer and Moderna vaccines now are more effective against known variants than earlier vaccines.
           None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines can cause COVID-19 illness. They are not live vaccines.
           After receiving full doses of these vaccines, you will not test positive for a COVID-19 viral test. [you develop immunity not disease].
           After receiving full doses of these vaccines, you should still follow all original precautions-masks, distancing, washing, etc.                                          
           After receiving full doses of these vaccines, it is recommended that you follow all quarantine regulations.
           Even after having the disease, you still DO NEED to take the vaccine because you can't be sure of the quality of your immunity...vaccine yields a stronger protection than disease.

           Smokers [and ex-smokers] are on the priority list because smoking damages lungs causing them to end up in hospital with COVID-19.
           COVID-19 vaccines may lower transmission of disease.
           Even if you are 1 of the 50% of recipients who experience no side-effects you are still about 94% protected.
           After only 1 shot of Pfizer vaccine, you will have 92.6% efficacy; after 1 of Moderna you will have 92.1%; BUT it will not persist...the job of the 2nd shot is to act as a booster and prolong the efficacy...there is data that you can put off 2nd shot about 50 days but no good data after that.
           'COVID zero' will not happen. Experts agree that COVID-19 will probably become endemic. [will remain prevalent in an area.
           Herd immunity will have a 70-80% positivity rate.         
           WHO states that a person can be reinfected with a COVID variant after having successfully recovered from COVID illness.


       After a year of good data showing that wearing masks is an effective tool, it is not surprising that masks do reduce the number of COVID hospitalizations. There is also excellent data that masks and social distancing are associated with a large reduction in influenza cases and influenza prescriptions [my personal observation] during the flu season. What is surprising to me is that a Walmart security guard can end up in the hospital after being beaten up over a mask dispute or that a Tulane police officer was SHOT DEAD after a mask dispute at a high school basketball game. Wearing a mask is a medical protective issue, not a political issue.   Presently, CDC showed wearing of 2 masks stops about 80% viral size particles [1 cloth over 1 surgical mask]. Dr. Fauci has said that masks will probably still be necessary in 2022.

           Risk of death is 3.5 higher from COVID-19 than from Influenza.
           Men are 20% more likely to die from COVID-19 than women. There is a fundamental genetic and cellular difference.
           Texas, Mississippi, Montana, Iowa, and N. Dakota have lifted their mask requirements despite rising numbers.
           Mortality incidence overall in household contacts is about 10%.
           Comorbidities' of this pandemic are partner violence, child violence, divorce and suicide.
           Schizophrenia adults with COVID have a higher mortality.
           Dry cleaning kills COVID on clothing. The heat in the process, not the chemicals is effective.
           Loss of smell and taste occurs in 86% of mild cases in 1 study.  i do not agree with this.

     Not only is COVID-19 a new disease, but after 1 year, the world experts are still learning about it. COVID-19 keeps mutating, keeps changing the rules, keeps causing illness, devastation and death. We keep enlarging our armamentarium in our fight with vaccines, new vaccines, and medications.

 We must continue with our basic tools, including masks, hand washing and social distancing. Even Dolly Parton sings "Everybody should get the vaccine." Any vaccine you get will do a great job for you and everyone else. 


Stay safe and stay well,

Doc Ente


There are 2 ways to gain immunity to the new Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes the disease Covid-19.  You can “catch” it [and either have no symptoms or be sick]  or you can be immunized with the vaccine. Here, we shall talk about the vaccine.

 The disease Covid-19 is caused by an RNA virus. Let’s define DNA and RNA.  DNA is present and the main constituent in chromosomes as a double helix [a twisted ladder].  It is the carrier of genetic material.  Most viruses are DNA.
 RNA, also present in all living cells, is a shorter single helix and acts mainly as a messenger from DNA in controlling the manufacture of proteins. Particularly in this virus the RNA carries the genetic material. 
 Almost all previous vaccines have been DNA type.  This one is different. HIV and RSV in infants are examples of other RNA viruses. We have not previously made a successful large scale RNA vaccine.

 A vaccine is a compound made specially to stimulate production of antibodies which produce immunity to the specific disease without becoming sick from that disease.  Vaccines against Covid-19, in conjunction with the basic anti-Covid-19 measures, are the best way to end this pandemic.

 Although there are about 11 vaccines in the hopper, only 2 are available in the USA at present. The Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines both have been granted emergency use authorization by our FDA. Both are mRNA [messenger RNA] vaccines. A third vaccine by Astra-Zeneca is being used in Europe, but has not yet been approved for use in the USA. The EU has contracted a total of 6 vaccines.
 These vaccines do not contain live virus.  You cannot get Covid-19 or any other disease from these vaccines. This is not possible. There is no tracking chip in the vaccines.

 The Pfizer vaccine, made with their German partner BioNTech, which may be given to anyone over 16 years, requires 2 doses given 21 days apart. It has a 40-50% efficacy rate starting after 8 days and a 95% efficacy staring 7 days after the second shot. The downside of this vaccine is that it must be kept at -95F in transit as well as in storage.  This requires special freezing equipment.
 In the key double-blinded study of 44,000, only 94 individuals became sick and of those 90% were in the placebo [no active ingredients] group.  this study will not be complete until 164 positive cases are included in the results.
 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine uses RNA genetic molecule to cause our own cells to make a protein called a spike or S protein.  Then our immune system encounters this protein and produces antibodies and immune cells that can recognize the protein quickly and then deliver a swift attack against the virus when it is met.

 Moderna’s vaccine, a.k.a. mRNA-1273, is given to people older than18 years, and it also shows a 90-95% efficacy after the 2 dose regimen, given 28 days apart.
 In the key study of over 30,000 participants, mean age 51.4 years, including many predisposing medical conditions, more than 96% completed the 2 doses, symptomatic Covid-19 was confirmed in the placed group and only 11 in the active group, showing an efficacy of 94.1%.  Keep in mind, these data are only short term. We need to see how long this level of efficacy persists.
 Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine send a message to our cells to produce a harmless piece of the S protein [remember the spike on the outside of the virus] which our immune system recognizes as foreign and creates antibodies, building an immune response. These both are mRNA vaccines.
 The mRNA in these vaccines is synthetic, made from chemicals to look like normal RNA but modified slightly to increase its stability. No viral component is used to make this vaccine. The mRNA is delivered in a small sphere of inert fatty material, which is then suspended in saline solution and injected into the muscle of the arm.

 The European Union has approved the use of Oxford University/Astra-Zeneca Vaccine in Europe for people over 18 years of age. This also is a 2 -dose vaccine to be given 4-12 weeks apart. The
beauty of this is that needs to be kept at 35.6F to 46.4F, which is the same as regular refrigerator and may be kept refrigerated for 6 months. This is a viral vector vaccine. It retools a chimpanzee adenovirus, which was chosen hoping that people would not be immune to it or that could cause a reaction in itself.  They make a weakened version of this virus and insert some genetic material from the virus that causes Covid-19, into it.  Once inside, the plan is for our cells make a protein unique to the COVID-19 virus, make copies of it and fool our body to make an immune response [giant macrophages, B and T-lymphocytes] which will remember how to fight that virus in the future if we become infected.

 Side effects are effects which may possibly happen but are not the sought aftereffects. These Covid-19 vaccines cause the routine mild side effects seen with most vaccines.
•   Pain, redness, soreness at injection site
•   Low grade fever
•   Fatigue 
•   Headache, nausea or vomiting
•   Chills
•   Rash
•   Muscle or joint pain
After receiving the vaccine, it is recommended that you are to be observed for 10-15 minutes to ensure that there is no immediate severe allergic reaction, like anaphylaxis, which will be immediately treated. The minor side effects listed above typically occur within the first 2 or 3 days and last for 1-2 days. These effects indicate that the inflammatory process is occurring. They actually indicate that the vaccine is working.  The immune response involves some degree of inflammation and these short-term side effects are merely the signs of inflammation. so actually, they are not bad.  They are expected.  Most studies show 5-15% chance of these side effects.  Oftentimes these effects are worse after the second muscular injection.
 The safety of the vaccines has been rigorously studied.  Although “Warp Speed” had increased the speed of research, development and manufacture, the safety trials went through routine FDA phase 1, phase 2 and phase 3 trials, where tens of thousands of people, teens and elders, healthy and frail, were included. Possible long term side effects have yet to be studied because the rush to stop the pandemic has not permitted long term study yet.

ABOUT WHO SHOULD GET VACCINE                     
     Everyone older than 18 years old.
     Elderly people and those with underlying medical condition may get the vaccine.
 People who have recovered from the disease.

 Anyone who has had previous severe allergic reaction to this vaccine.
 Anyone who has had previous severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in this vaccine.
 Anyone who is pregnant, or breast feeding, should discuss this with her physician.
 Children under 18 years of age.
 Anyone who has an acute illness.
 Anyone exposed to COVID-19 should wait out the quarantine period.

 Dr Anthony Fauci estimates that 80-85% of Americans need to be vaccinated for us to reach herd immunity. Most other experts have said that 70-75%, which is similar to most other diseases, should suffice.


 Multiple layers or protection, like layers of slices of cheese, are needed to stop the spread of Covid-19 and finally end this pandemic.  No individual layer is perfect, including the vaccine. Each layer has holes in it.  When the holes are aligned, disease occurs. [you can see why this is called “the swiss cheese model”.]  Now, if when we combine several layers - masks, social distancing, hand-washing, testing, tracing, outdoor small groups, indoor ventilation, education, and vaccines - we can significantly reduce the overall risk of infection and bring an end to this pandemic.  One out of every 1.000 Americans alive at the beginning of 2020 has died of Covid-19 by the year’s end.  Experts tell us that all these things will be required to produce the desired result, not just any one modality. But, remember that there is no positive effect of the vaccine if you do not take it.  We can do it. We must do it.

  by Gerald Ente, MD  Retirees Association Honorary Police Surgeon


From Alan Berkowitz berky4@aol.com

Alan recently received this note from Aetna Insurance Company relating to a rate increase Aetna had passed on to the retirees who use their plan. Note the rate increase will be taken away starting in September after negotiations with the City of NY.

Hello Alan
I hope this email finds you well, and that you and your family are staying safe during these unprecedented times. I am reaching out to you because it has come to my attention the City has made a revision to the Aetna rate for July 1, 2020. Your retirees will begin to see a pension deduction of $1.22 for retiree or $2.44 for retiree and spouse. We are working with the City to neutralize so members will not have a pension deduction, unfortunately this will not occur until September. You may begin to receive calls inquiring about the charge and wanted to make you aware. I was hoping you could also send a broader email to the 10-13 presidents so they are aware just in case they receive calls. Please call me with any questions.
Thank you,
Sabrina DeGuzman Simmons
Medicare Account Director
Retiree Markets
Mobile: (703) 531-7614
Email: SimmonsS@Aetna.com

April 9, 2020                                    2019 MEDICARE PART 'B' REIMBURSEMENTS

Thanks to Alan Berkowitz for this information berky6@aol.com

The Health Benefits Retiree client service walk-in center is closed.

Due to the closure of the office, retirees who mailed or faxed forms or correspondance March 11, 2020 or after, we cannot access or process that form. Please resubmit your documents as follows:

1) Inquries and questions can be emailed to healthbenefits@olr.nyc.gov

2) Forms/documents can be sent via email to NYCRetireesHBP@emblemhealth.com
Please do NOT include your Social Security number, include your Employee ID or pension number only.

3) For questions regarding the PICA prescription drug benefit program please call 1-800-467-2006.

4) If you are a HIP-HMO member turning 65 or on Medicare due to a disability, please contact HIP at (800) 447-9169 to enroll over the phone. Please identify yourself as a City of New York retiree or dependent of a retiree. For all other members enrolled in a HMO plan, please contact your health plan at the customer service numbers on the back of your ID card.
Please note that active employees can contact NYCAPS Central by:

1) Phone - 212-487-0500

2) Email - nycapscentral@dcas.nyc.gov Or HealthBenefits@dcas.nyc.gov
Please check our website periodically for updates.

The Medicare Part 'B' reimbursements are scheduled to be sent out in late April. The latest information found here https://www1.nyc.gov/site/olr/health/healthhome.page

Check the dates from when you first came under Medicare as the payments are different and if you have submitted the IRMAA form for additional deductions, do not fill out the Differential form. Those payments will be made separately in October. The City has a habit of making simple things very complicated.

Medicare Part B Reimbursement Schedule for Retirees

Medicare Part B 2019 Reimbursement

Medicare Part B 2019 reimbursements will be distributed by the end of April 2020.

For those retirees/eligible dependent of a retiree with a Medicare Part B effective date between 2016 and 2019, they will be reimbursed at the rate of $135.50 per month. ($135.50 x 12 months = $1,626 annual amount) 

For those retirees/eligible dependent of a retiree with a Medicare Part B effective date prior to 2016, they will be reimbursed at the rate of $109.00 per month. ($109 x 12 months = $1,308 annual amount)

For those retirees/eligible dependent of a retiree with a Medicare Part B effective date prior to 2016, they will receive an additional amount up to $300. They must submit a Medicare Part B 2019 Reimbursement Differential Request Form  

IRMAA 2019 Reimbursement

IRMAA 2019 reimbursements are scheduled to be issued by the end of October 2020.

Those retirees who are eligible for IRMAA must submit the IRMAA 2019 Reimbursement Application. 
Health Benefits Program staff will be processing 2019 IRMAA forms once the Medicare Part B 2019 payment is issued in April 2020. 

Medicare Part B 2019 Differential Reimbursement

Medicare Part B 2019 differential reimbursements are scheduled to be issued by the end of March 2021.

Medicare Part B 2019 differential payments up to $300 will be issued once the Medicare Part B and IRMAA payments are processed in calendar year 2020. 

Those retirees who are eligible for 2019 Medicare Part B differential reimbursements must submit the Medicare Part B 2019 Reimbursement Differential Request Form

Health Benefits Program staff will be processing Medicare Part B 2019 Reimbursement Differential Request Form once IRMAA payments are issued in October 2020

Please note that, if you are applying for IRMAA and eligible for this additional $300 reimbursement, you do not need to complete the Medicare Part B 2019 Reimbursement Differential Request Form since you will be receiving this amount at the same time the IRMAA payment is issued in October 2020.

April 8, 2020                                     DOC ENTE'S UPDATED VIRUS REPORT

To members of Retired Transit Police Officers Association and NYSFOP Lodge # 317:
I have been asked so many questions and there is so much new information now, that I am sending you a supplement.
The numbers for the USA  are 400,549 infected,12,857 deaths and 21,711 recovered. You all know that this plague is moving so fast that
these are like yesterday's newspaper. My sources tell me that at Elmhurst Hospital in Brooklyn, there are 2 death per hour in the ER.

Most  of my questions are "What is a virus?" Interestingly, a virus is not a living organism; it is a protein molecule [micro-blob] covered by a membrane [layer] of fat. It exists outside, but basically can only replicate [multiply] when it gets into a living cell, unfortunately, like up your nose, in your throat, etc...then it becomes aggressive. Remember, we can't kill it because it is not living but HAND WASHING will destroy this thing. It takes a 20 second wash with any soap [does not need to anti-bacterial soap] to dissolve the outer membrane, so now you see why HAND WASHING is not like having the husband boil water in the old days for a home birth. It is an ACTIVE method [treatment] for destruction of any virus. Everyone has seen photos of this virus. To me it looks like a mine, like what our destroyers in WWII placed in the oceans, but remember, it is only a protein, like RNA, encapsulated by a layer of fat.

Any mixture of ALCOHOL over 65% dissolves any fat [including the fat viral membrane]. Sorry, but no, most vodkas do not contain that much alcohol, so it is wiser to drink it or use it as gifts than to wash hands in it.  HEAT melts the fat, so it is best to wash your body and hands and clothes in water between 75-80 degrees F. Suds and foam also increase the destruction of the fatty layer but do not shake dirty laundry before washing because it will spread active virus in the air. The scientists at Johns Hopkins say that the virus may stay active in air or on a feather duster for 3 hours, on aluminum for 2-8 hours, on copper for 4 hrs, on cardboard for 1 day,  plastics for 2-3 days, wood for 4 days, paper-ceramics-glass-metal for up to 5 days. The message here is to be careful. Any mixture with 1 part bleach and 5 parts water applied directly will break down the protein and dissolve the virus from the inside. No spray or solution which is BACTERICIDAL,  BACTERISTATIC or ANTIBIOTIC has any use here as a cleanser because the virus is not living. This virus remains stable in cold, air-conditioning and in the freezer. VINEGAR seems to have no effect. DRYNESS helps to degrade the virus so a well-lit open dehumidified environment helps. UV LIGHT will destroy the virus.

Here are some facts  about COVID-19:
          A package coming from China is safe...it has exceeded the time that the virus is stable on cardboard..
          The LABORATORY TESTS are only about 70% accurate. [for lots of reasons.]
          This disease did not begin from bat soup.
          This virus cannot go through intact normal hydrated skin. 
          The virus can hide under finger nails so keep them short.

Remember to wash your hands every time you  touch anything, do anything, or come in from outside.Now because your skin will dry out from excess washing, you should use a moisturizer.[the thicker the better and no need for classy expensive lotions].

SURGEON, Retired Transit Police Officers Association and Lodge 317 NYS FOP

April 4, 2020                           COVID-19 VIRUS REPORT FROM ASSOCIATION SURGEON

We wish to thank our Honorary Police Surgeon, Doc Ente for this article on the Coronavirus

To members of Transit Police Retirees Association:

          It is great to be talking to you all again. Today we talk about covid-19. I may not be saying anything you all don't know because I expect that you have been following all the news from the media but I can re-enforce certain things and at the end give you a chance to ask me questions which I will try to answer.

        COronaVIrusDisease-2019. That is how it was named. [Virologists always use abbreviations like codes to name their new viruses]. Obviously, this is different from the flu...symptoms are symptoms...there are just so many things a body can do, so it's not the symptoms that are too different.  Differences include the fact that newborns, infants and children are not being severely affected by this bug [although 6 kids died in Wuhan, China in the original batch and one 6 month old just died in Connecticut]. Mother-to-baby transmission during pregnancy does not occur. BUT... these kids are being infected, often without symptoms, and carrying the disease to their loving grandparents, who have an increased chance of severe symptoms, including death, because of their old age, the poor immune status, and their cardiac and lung disorders. So, you see, kids are important to this pandemic.

          Our last pandemic was in 1917-18, beyond any of our memories. Then it was the flu and it infected 500 million people or 1/3rd of that world population. At that time, over 50 million people died including almost 700,000 Americans. Today, over 1 million global cases with over 50, 000 total deaths including over 4,500 USA deaths. The latest population census statistics are 7.5 billion globally in 2017 and 327.2 million in the USA in 2018. We can count the number of our dead, but right now we have no idea of the total number of Americans who have been infected because of poor testing.  You must know that the majority of people who get a viral disease have no symptoms [between 25% quoted from the NY Times on 3/31/20 to 60-70-80% which I learned in med school and have always taught], so only history will tell us how many people actually had this disease. This will be done later on leisurely by antibody testing of sample populations or perhaps by a newer technique.
Another major difference is that COVID-19 is highly contagious during the pre-symptom time of the illness. The incubation period of this sickness is 1 to 14 days on average [it possibly could be longer]...so any time during that period we can be contagious. At present, there is no treatment and no vaccine yet approved to prevent this disease...so what can we do and why.
Lots of simple things we can do:
1. Common sense, personal hygiene...wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds frequently...wash area around mouth and nose also.
2. When out, use hand sanitizer which is 2/3 rubbing alcohol and 1/3 aloe...the alcohol kills the virus, the aloe is nice for the skin.
3. Do not shake hands...no need for physical contact... a head nod or a salute should suffice. This virus spreads person-to-person, so keep your distance...stay 6-10 feet apart ...that's the distance a droplet can travel.
4. Do not touch your face, mouth, nose or eyes. It’s not as easy as it sounds [studies show that we touch our faces many times per minute]
5. Clean all surfaces, handles, floors and clothing frequently...this virus does not fly around in dust particles, but it moves around in and on liquid droplets from sneezes, coughs and talking...it lands on things and stays alive and active for hours to days.
6. Cough and sneeze into your elbow not the air or your hand...this is just polite behavior.
7. When outside, wear a mask, bandana or whatever...this will keep your germs in and help to keep others' out...easy enough.
8. Open windows where possible to allow good air circulation.
9. Be prepared! Take your regular medicines, vitamins [including vitamin C, I hope], supplements [including probiotics...I hope you remember] as usual and make sure you have enough for a possible quarantine, but do not hoard.
10.Do not panic!  We are all in the same boat. Think positively. We shall make it. We all had a tough job and we survived then and shall now.
11.If you have symptoms, if you feel sick or if you have fever, CALL YOUR DOCTOR or CLINIC before you go there and follow instructions.
12.Do not travel; it’s insanity at this time...shelter-at-home
This is all new...we are writing the text on covid-19...the 'facts' change constantly, so what was true yesterday may be false today. Have patience. If you are doing what you should, you probably will get 'cabin fever.’ Try new indoor activities. This is not personal to you, it affects us all...the public in general and that is why they have instituted public health measures for all of us.
If you wish to get the latest facts about this, you can go to www.cdc.gov  website for today's latest info. If you wish to ask me my interpretation or opinion about any of this , i am still available at 516-819-0143 or entedoc@aol.com.

Stay safe and stay well!

Honorary Surgeon Retired Transit Police Officers Association and
Surgeon, Lodge 317 NYS FOP


We wish to thank Alan Berkowitz berky4@aol.com and Lou Hollander keystonecop1@verizon.net  for this information.

New York City Office of Labor Relations Health Benefits Program
22 Cortlandt Street - 12th Floor New York, NY 10007   www.nyc.gov/hbp   

2019 Medicare Part B Premium Reimbursement

The standard reimbursement amount for Calendar Year 2019 is $109.00 per person, per month.  For those newly enrolled in Medicare in 2019, currently, the standard amount is $135.50.  The reimbursements will be issued in April.  If you are currently receiving your pension check through Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) or direct deposit, your Medicare Part B reimbursement will be deposited directly into your bank account. This will be a separate payment from your pension payment. If you don’t have EFT or direct deposit, you will receive a check in the mail in April.
Question: How do I enroll for the Medicare Part B reimbursement?

Answer: Complete the Medicare Part B Reimbursement Program Application and return it with a copy ofyour Medicare card to the address listed above, Attention: Medicare Unit.
Question: I am a City retiree. Is my spouse/domestic partner/Medicare-eligible dependent entitled to the Medicare Part B reimbursement?

Answer: Yes. They are eligible if they are covered under your City health plan and enrolled in Medicare Part B Reimbursement and the health plan has the dependent in Medicare status. Complete the Medicare Part B Reimbursement Program Application and return it with a copy of their Medicare card to the address listed above, Attention: Medicare Unit.
Question: I received the standard premium amount of $109.00 per month for 2019 for the Medicare Part B reimbursement.  However, I paid more than the standard amount.  Can I be reimbursed for the difference?
Answer: Yes. If your 2019 monthly Medicare Part B premium was between $110.00 and $135.50, you may be eligible for an additional reimbursement amount referred to as a differential payment. In order to receive the differential payment, the retiree and/or dependent must submit a copy of proof of this additional payment (for example, the Form SSA-1099, bank statements, CMS-500 Notice of Medicare Payment Due) to our office for review.  If approved, you will receive the differential payment during the first quarter of 2021. For further information and to download the Medicare Part B Differential Request form, visit our website at nyc.gov/hbp.
If, however, you are enrolled in Medicare Part B as of 2016, you should have received reimbursement of $135.50 per month automatically and no action will be required on your part.

Question: Many people received their reimbursement and I didn’t get mine yet. What should I do?

Answer: Medicare reimbursements were deposited directly into the same account that you use for your pension payment. Please check your bank statement.
Question: I don’t have direct deposit for my pension payment and still have not received my Medicare reimbursement. What should I do?

Answer: You should write to the address listed above, Attention: Medicare Unit. Please include your name, retiree spouse’s name (if applicable) retiree's Social Security number, agency from which the retiree retired, current address, telephone number, and a copy of your Medicare card/ your spouse’s Medicare card (if applicable). This review process may take up to 8 weeks from receipt of the above information.
Question: The reimbursement I received is not the correct amount. What should I do?

Answer: You should write to the address listed above, Attention: Medicare Unit. Include your name, Social Security number, current address and telephone number, and a copy of your Medicare card. State the reason you believe the amount is incorrect. This process may take up to 8 weeks from receipt of the information.
Question: The check that I received is torn/ripped and the bank will not cash it. What should I do?

Answer: You should return the check to the address listed above, Attention: Medicare Unit. Include your name and Social Security number. It may take up to 8 weeks for a replacement check to be issued.
Question: I am the retiree and received a reimbursement for my spouse/domestic partner/Medicare- eligible dependent who died during the reimbursement year. What should I do?

Answer: Contact the Health Benefits Program in writing. Include both the retiree’s and deceased individual’s name, both Social Security numbers, address, phone number and a copy of the death certificate. Mail the information to the address listed above, Attention: Medicare Unit.
Question: My spouse/dependent was a City retiree who died before the reimbursements were issued. How do I claim the reimbursement?

Answer: You should write to the address listed above, Attention: Medicare Unit. Include the retiree’s name and Social Security number, your name, your address, phone number and a copy of the death certificate. Upon receipt of the death certificate, we will contact you if further documentation is required.
Question: Do I have to re-enroll every year for the Medicare Part B Reimbursement?

Answer: No, but if you change your address, or if one of the eligible Medicare Part B recipients dies, you must notify the Health Benefits Program, in writing

Question: What if my bank account information changes?

Answer: Please notify your pension system directly of any bank account changes. The changes will be automatically used for the Medicare Part B reimbursements.
Question: I paid more than the standard premium for Medicare Part B. Am I entitled to the higher premium reimbursement (IRMAA)?

Answer: You may be entitled to the higher reimbursement through Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). Visit our website at nyc.gov/hbp for further information.
Click o link or copy and paste into a web browser 2019 Medicare Part B Premium Reimbursement - New York City


Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019

Are you eligible for benefits?
The Blue Water Navy (BWN) Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 (PL 116-23) extended the presumption of herbicide exposure, such as Agent Orange, to Veterans who served in the offshore waters of the Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, Veterans who served as far as 12 nautical miles from the shore of Vietnam, or who had service in the Korean Demilitarized Zone, are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides, such as Agent Orange, and may be entitled to service connection for any of the 14 conditions related to herbicide exposure.
VA is also now able to extend benefits to children with spina bifida whose BWN Veteran parent may have been exposed while serving.

For more information view attached fact sheet or visit VA's Blue Water Navy Benefits page.

·        Law Extends Benefits for Eligible Veterans.pdf

July 7, 2019                                       INFORMATION ON AETNA MEDICARE PLANS           

Lou Hollander received this information from Alan Berkowitz berky4@aol.com

Hello Alan,
I am sharing the Aetna website we have developed for City of NY retirees. See link below and feel free to share.

Sabrina DeGuzman Simmons
Medicare Account Director
Retiree Markets
Mobile: (703) 531-7614
Email: SimmonsS@Aetna.com


Regarding the Medicare Part 'B' reimbursement, when a member passes away, his or her beneficiary must file a form obtained from the City of New York Health Benefits Program, located at 40 Rector Street, 3rd Fl
New York, NY 10006.

If the member passes away before the checks are sent out, the surviviving spouse would get approximately $2500 from the previous year plus every month in the present year the spouse was alive.

You have 3 years to file the application form.

If you actually had more monies taken out of your Social Security check because of increased income (IRMAA), you are entitled to have those extra monies refunded.

Please go to this website at NYC Health Benefits


- Reimbursement will be issued in October 2019


From Lou Hollander keystonecop1@verizon.net

Aetna Medicare Advantage will be available to retiree’s living in South Carolina in 2019. I have been told that Aetna is also looking into Nevada. The changeover period is coming up soon and you should be receiving information regarding all the plans from city soon. Next year beginning 1/1/19 the people that have Aetna will be entitled to “Silver Sneakers”. “Resources for living” has been in the plan since 1/1/18.  See above flyers for further information. Representatives of Aetna will be present at the October 2nd and November 6th of the NYPD Broward 10-13 General Membership and on the West Coast the NYPD Hernando County 10-13 Club, September 5th and October 10th

March 27, 2018                               PROBLEMS WITH GHI / ENCOMPASS HEALTH

The following was sent by Lou Hollander and Alan Berkowitz as received from Ret. NYPD Capt. H. Katowitz of the Charlotte NC 10-13 Club  hkatowitz@windstream.net

Hi All,
A week does not go by where I am not contacted by a club member who has a problem locating a GHI participating physician.
The NYC Office of Labor Relations informed the attorney involved in the lawsuit against GHI that they have not received any complaints against GHI. We need to change this.

It is important that everyone files a complaint with the NYC Office of Labor Relations at: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/olr/about/email-the-commissioner.page
Please copy the information you filed in the complaint and email it to me.
Below is the information I included in the complaint I filed with Commissioner Linn, NYC Office of Labor Relations.

Commissioner Linn,
I am a retired NYPD Captain and president of the NYPD 10-13 Club of Charlotte, NC. Our club is comprised of 282 retired NYPD officers who reside with their families in the Charlotte, NC area.  There are 2 additional 10-13 chapters in NC. The Raleigh chapter has 120 retired NYPD officers and the Wilmington chapter has 105 retired NYPD officers.

Most of our members have NYC health coverage through GHI-CBP.  Unfortunately there are very few physicians in NC who participate in this plan and our attempts to recruit physicians have been thwarted by Emblem Health/GHI. In one instance a GHI service representative told a medical administrator for a local physician that she would not recommend the physician becoming a GHI provider, that their insurance rates are lower than most insurance companies.

Another service rep told a physician that GHI is not accepting new applications for providers to join their network in NC, because there are enough participating providers. If you check the GHI website for GHI-CBP providers within 50 miles of Charlotte you will see that the number of physicians on this list, especially in specialty fields, is inadequate to cover the medical needs of the NYPD retirees and their families. Members often have to travel over 100 miles to find participating providers.
I mailed letters to the President and CEO of Emblem Health outlining our efforts to recruit area physicians and the roadblocks we faced from GHI.  I included letters and emails from area physicians who were thwarted in their efforts to become GHI-CBP participating providers.  If you provide me with an address, I will mail you copies of the letters and emails.
Additionally I recently became aware of a provision in a 2014 NY Attorney General "Assurance of Discontinuance"
(settlement) that GHI is not in compliance with.  The relevant section, #32 can be found at:

If you are affected by this inaction on the part of GHI/Emblem Health, do yourself a big favor and make a formal complaint.

September 5, 2017              WTC HEALTH REGISTRY (WTCHR) PROGRAM

Lou Hollander received this from Bob Ballard HAWK726@aol.com

What I'm writing about today is my experience with the WTC Health Registry (WTCHR) program.

I registered with WTCHR sometime in 2002 - 03. Since the program was new, they had their heads in the sand and moved very slowly with diagnosis & treatments.

FAST FORWARD to 2009 - various medical issues have arisen and I contacted WTCHR. They wanted me to come to Beekman Downtown Hospital for evaluation & (if required) treatment.
Problem is, I now live in South Jersey & due to medical reasons from 9/11, I cannot travel into Manhattan (and most other crowded places) without physical / mental issues.

Back & forth on the phone with them until 2013. Finally I was placed in the Nationwide Provider Network (NPN) administered by Logistics Health Incorporated (LHI) located in La Crosse, WI. 
LHI set up an initial general assessment and then contacted physicians locally (within 50 miles of my home) for diagnosis and treatment.

It took about 9 months to a year to get my medical issues certified, but that's a good thing!

THE ADVANTAGE - The covered conditions are now FULLY PAID FOR. That is to say, whatever your personal medical coverage doesn't cover - LHI picks up the "customary" costs (payer of last resort). I really don't have to worry about how I'm going to cover any "9/11 related" medical expenses now or in the future. Of course there is a "price" to pay for this - the paperwork. To cover unpaid bills (or portions thereof), recoup co-pays (Dr. visits, prescriptions, etc.) you need to a) get the LHI form, b) get the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) for the particular instance from your insurance provider, c) provide receipts /unpaid bills and mail to LHI - ALL within 60 days.

To their credit, they have recently contracted with Walgreens mail order service for "maintenance drugs", but initial prescriptions filled locally are on you - then get reimbursed.

ANNUAL ASSESSMENTS - You are required to have an annual assessment, usually by a physician of their choosing.

Prior to this assessment you have to fill out a health /wellness questionnaire either by phone (30-50 minutes) or on-line. ***TIP*** always request a HARD COPY of this questionnaire - reason - the questions rarely vary from year to year but memories fade a bit from year to year and you want to be consistent with your answers. You can review the previous year’s answers for the newer questionnaire.

The annual assessment consists of something similar to your normal annual physical. Blood/urine test (fasting required), EKG, spirometry and chest x-ray, and any other tests they deem necessary. Then a follow-up (days - weeks) later with a physician. The physician will go over the test results with you, give you a comprehensive medical exam and give you their findings / recommendations.

For the guys who are already being treated for 9/11 related conditions not registered with WTCHR, I guess there’ll be some "wiggle room" about who's treating them but I doubt they'll let the annual assessments pass by.

I highly recommend getting those conditions certified by WTCHR just for the peace of mind about financial security in the future.

August 21. 2016                                          THE DOCTOR'S CORNER

The following articles are from our Association's Police Surgeon Dr. Gerald Ente entedoc@aol.com


     Mosquitoes spread all sorts of diseases around the world.  It is estimated that 700 million people are infected annually internationally by mosquito-borne diseases.

     Mosquitoes do not actually bite. The adults have a mouthpart called a proboscis through which they feed on nectar + other plant juices.  The adult female needs blood sources to produce eggs.  Mosquitoes have a variety of methods to find their prey, including chemical, visual + heat sensors.

     The female pierces the skin of the blood source (that’s us), injects her saliva, finds a capillary and withdraws her blood meal. Her saliva contains an amazing group of chemicals including anticoagulants and other substances to prevent clotting of the blood, pathogens, viral, bacterial or parasitic agents (which cause disease), and an analgesic to prevent the person from feeling the “bite”.

      Most mosquitos feed at dawn or dusk, although there are lots of exceptions including the Asian Tiger mosquito, which is at home in Florida. Most mosquitos can fly only 100-200 yards. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is the main vector of Zika Virus, a native of Florida, and can also spread yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya virus. She feeds on several blood sources [4 or 5] to obtain enough blood protein to produce her eggs. This mosquito lives happily indoors as well as outside and “bites” during the day as well as at night. [Go figure].

      As of beginning of August, there are over 1,700 reported cases of Zika in the U.S.A, 14 cases by sexual contact, 400 cases in pregnant women, 5 cases Of Guillain Barre Syndrome and 15 home grown cases in South Florida. There are almost 500 reported cases in the New York area.

      Now Zika is an interesting disease because it is usually benign. Four out of five people contracting it have no symptoms. The other twenty percent may have typical viral symptoms plus pink eye and a nondescript reddish rash on their body. A rare person may develop an unusual, serious neurological condition called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (or ascending paralysis) which is like polio. The only other people to whom Zika is a major problem are pregnant women. The chances of having a baby with Microcephaly and other major neurological defects and diseases is less than 1%. This statistic is problematic because when it occurs, the 1% chance becomes a 100% lifelong fact.

      So lets talk about what young fertile women can do to avoid Zika infection.

          1) Avoid unnecessary travel to areas where these mosquitos are rampant.

          2) Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants as protective clothing.

          3) Avoid outdoors whenever possible around dawn or dusk.

          4) Use EPA recommended mosquito repellants as directed on the label.

          5) Use mosquito netting where possible (for babies).

          6) Keep screen doors and windows in good repair and closed.

     Health departments and governments all over the world are working on ways of preventing Zika with chemicals and biologics, but there are things that each of us could do.

          1) Clean up stagnant standing water on your property. Empty flower pots, old tires,   bird baths, saucers under flower pots, clogged gutters, puddles of all sizes, and even up turned soda bottle caps can act as nurseries for mosquito larvae.

          2) Because mosquitos may be in your home, aside from sprays use a mosquito bed net.

          3) Use standing water treatment tablets when you can’t empty the water.

          4) Use DEET or permethrin mosquito spray.  According to Consumer Reports, the three best bug sprays are:

                                                  1) Ben’s 30% DEET tic & insect wilderness formula (safe for pregnant women and children)

                                                  2) Sawyer Picaridin (not safe for children under 3 years old)

                                                  3)Repel lemon eucalyptus( not safe for children under 3 years old)

     Babies under the age of two moths old should not have any of these used on them. Use only mosquito netting. Remember to apply insect spray after applying sunscreen and wash it off with soap and water when returning indoors.

     Zika is present in all states in our country. Since mosquitos love heat and moisture, Florida is a favorite. Most U.S. cases are picked up while traveling to South and Central America and the Caribbean. Now our local mosquitoes are beginning to carry the virus in their mid gut and are infective.

     In all probability, Zika viral infections are most dangerous to the fetus early in pregnancy. It seems like infection in the third trimester may be safe. While mosquitoes are the main transmission, cases of sexual transmission can and have occurred in any form either male to female, female to female, or female to male. So the best advice from the CDC is for pregnant women to abstain or when having sex to use condoms. Any pregnant woman who thinks she has been exposed is advised to seek testing and call her OB doctor.

     If anyone has any further questions about mosquitoes or the Zika virus, feel free to contact me =
Jerry Ente, MD at entedoc@aol.com


From a health point of view, the less salt you eat each day, the healthier it is. But as we age we lose taste buds for discrimination for all other tastes except salt. So as we get older we prefer more salty foods. In the New England Journal of Medicine in August of 2014, a consensus of articles about salt intake agreed that excessive salt was unhealthy and contributed to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and kidney disease.

               The World Health Organization and the American Heart Association recommend 1500-2500 mgs of sodium daily. They pointed out that less than 1% of our worldwide population consume less than 2 grams (2,000 mgs) daily. The average American eats 5 or more teaspoons of salt each day, which is twenty times the recommendation. Our body needs only a quarter teaspoon of salt daily. A common target for a low salt diet is 1500-2000 mgs daily. Salt regulates fluid balance in our bodies and maintains blood volume and pressure. Too little salt will create a lack of energy.

               Foods high in salt include;

Smoked, canned, cured or salted meats

Regular or processed cheese, spreads and sauces, cottage cheese Pizza, croutons Olives, pickles, sour kraut Canned vegetables Soy sauce, seasoning salt and marinades Bottled salad dressings Salted butter or margarine Instant pudding Soups… Canned soups are a wealth of salts. A tip to lower the salt if you are a soup lover like I am is to add water. If you don’t like the thinned out soup you can than add thin cut potato or eggplant slices and after they absorb salt you can either throw them away, give them to a skinny friend or eat them. Remember, soup is like liquid salt. For example, a can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup contains 2,030 mg of salt. You can get reduced-sodium soups that contain 120-150 mg of salt.

Cereals… Cereals are amazing. Kellogg’s shredded wheat minis have 0 sodium. Corn grits have 1 mg per serving. Kellogg’s puffed wheat has 3 mg. Health Valley Fiber 7 has 53 mg. Special K has 220 mg. General Mills Total Raisin Bran has 446 mg. Cheerios, which advertises as heart smart, had 300 mg in 2007, and according to the box now has 120 mg. Kraft Post Toasties Corn Flakes have 1,020 mg, while for hot cereals Quaker’s instant grits product/ham ’n’ cheese has 1,930 mg of salt.





Are you dieting? Aren't you trying to lose weight? Everybody is. One of the latest fads is low carbohydrates. The thing is that carbs are an important part of your diet. But there are good carbs and bad carbs. The “bad” carbs are the weight producing, simple sugars, low in fiber, often time white in color. They include sugar, syrups, white rice, white bread, white pasta, white potatoes, cakes, cookies and sweet desserts. The “badies” also include soda and candy. 

               The “good” carbs are formed by complex sugars and starches, which require more time for the body to break them down. “Goodies” are less processed, more natural and more healthy. Good carbs include fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains, yams and legumes (which are beans, peas, lentils and nuts). Good carbs have low to moderate calorie density which fill you up, are high in nutrients, and are devoid of refined sugars and grains. They are full of fiber, low in sodium, saturated fat, trans fats and cholesterol. 

               Remember, we’re not even mentioning the amount of salt, calories, diabetes type two and fats in this discussion, there is always tomorrow. In most supermarkets, the foods found in the outer aisles are the natural foods which include the good carbs, while the foods in the inner isles contain processed, boxed, and refined items, including the bad carbs.

               Your grandma and your momma may not have known these facts and they may not have had a choice, but they still did eat better and everyone knows “Momma knows best.”


Thanks to Alan Berkowitz for this news:

Dear CEA Member,
We have received a copy of a favorable court decision from the NYS Supreme Court Appellate Division – First Department.  The case involved the standards utilized by the Police Pension Fund Medical Board in determining whether uniformed members were disabled from police work and qualified for a disability pension.  Under an arcane law called the “Safeguards Statute” the City, with the advice and support of the Law Department, had moved to have the Pension Fund Medical Board apply a new medical standard to injured officers seeking a disability pension to determine if the officer was disabled from ANY gainful employment.  This unprecedented action would have led to officers disabled from police work, but not completely disabled, being placed in other City service outside of the Police Department instead of being granted a disability pension.
The CEA, along with the other police unions, objected to this action as contrary to past practice and authority of the pension fund.  The City sought to bypass the police union objections by opining that the Law Department interpretation of the Safeguards Statute supersedes the Pension Fund Board of Trustees.  The CEA, as a Trustee of the Pension Fund, commenced a lawsuit in NYS Supreme Court challenging the Law Department’s opinion and its authority to direct action of the Police Pension Fund.  The initial Court ruled against us and the CEA appealed to the First Department Appellant Division who has now sided in our favor.
In the lawsuit titled “Roy T Richter, etc. –against- Michael A. Cardozo, etc.” the Appellant Division reversed the lower court and found the Board of Trustees is “empowered to differ with its counsel on matters of statutory interpretation and reach its own position on such questions.”  “Indeed, the Board implicitly interprets the governing statute with each of its individual determinations in the regular course of business.”  “[T]he proposition that [the Law Department] interpretation of any statute always trumps the interpretation of an agency is untenable and inconsistent with the basic role of counsel.”
It is unknown if the Law Department intends to appeal this decision to the NYS Court of Appeals.  I will keep you updated on any developments.
Roy T Richter
NYPD Captains Endowment Association
(212) 791-8292

October 19, 2014                           IMPORTANT TAX NEWS FOR 9/11 VICTIMS

Lou Hollander received this information from Rick Rottkamp RH1040@aol.com

Hello all:
After several years of delays,the IRS has finally indicated that compensation received as a direct result of 9/11 is tax free.
Please be advised that last month (September 2014) the IRS updated Publication 3920 and included the following:

Payments to Survivors

The following section discusses the tax treatment of certain amounts received by survivors of the attacks and survivors of people who died as a result of the attacks.

September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001
Payments from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001 are not included in income.

Disability Payments
For tax years ending after September 10, 2001, disability payments (including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments) are not included in income if they are for injuries incurred as a direct result of a terrorist attack (including the September 11 attacks, anthrax attacks, and Oklahoma City attack) directed against the United States (or its allies). However, you must include in your income any disability payments you received or you would have received in retirement had you not become disabled as a result of a terrorist attack.

Disability payments you receive for injuries not incurred as a direct result of a terrorist attack or for illnesses or diseases not resulting from an injury incurred as a direct result of a terrorist attack cannot be excluded from your income under this provision but may be excludable for other reasons. For details, see Publication 907, Tax Highlights for Persons with Disabilities. 
If you know anyone receiving disability payments due to 9/11 please make sure they are aware of this as it effects the taxability of both past and future disability payments.
Richard H. Rottkamp, EA
466 Ashland Avenue
Baldwin, NY 11510-2534
(516) 868-0023
Fax (516) 377-7712

Our thanks to Lou and Richard for forwarding this important information.

July 25, 2014                                 IMPORTANT BENEFIT FOR RETIRED DETECTIVES

We received the following from Paul DiGiacomo, NYC DEA Vice President. The benefit is available to all retired detective members for a co-pay of only $25 and for all others, the price is discounted to $199.


The DEA is proud to offer a new enhanced benefit to all our retirees who would like to participate in the Heartscan Services cardiovascular and thyroid nodule screening program.  THE COPAY FOR OUR RETIREES WILL BE $25, WITH THE DEA PAYING THE DIFFERENCE OF $174.   The DEA has discounted pricing for all DEA active members and all DEA families of $199 (normally the price is $300).  
This preventive screening program focuses on identifying early stages of heart, carotid (stroke), thyroid (nodules), and peripheral arterial disease (early diabetes and hypertension ).

  Recent clinical findings show an increase in thyroid cancer and heart disease for 911 responders. Clinical findings show thyroid cancer as the fastest increasing cancer in the US and heart disease remaining as the #1 disease. Every 60 seconds someone in the U.S. dies of a heart attack and every 40 seconds someone has a stroke.   These diseases are preventable if detected and treated early.  Most people are symptom free and therefore most insurance companies will not cover the screens that identify their risk factors. 

Heartscan Services is a mobile company making it convenient for all to take advantage of this program.  For our retirees, designated screening locations throughout the Metropolitan and the Long Island areas will be assigned. Retirees can contact Heartscan Services directly to inquire about the various locations at 1-866-518-1112.

Heartscan Services is HIPAA compliant and all results are strictly confidential.                
The DEA is excited to bring this valuable program to our retired members and hope you will take advantage of this potentially lifesaving screening.   Please contact Heartscan Services directly at 1-866-518-1112 to schedule appointment or our Health Benefits office at 212-587-9120 if you have any questions.

Fraternally,                                                      Warm Regards,                                                    
Michael J. Palladino                                         Marilyn Martinucci, MBA 
DEA President                                                CEO/Founder HeartScan Services Inc.


The preventive screening program is a simple, painless, non-invasive, ultrasound assessment that can evaluate your risk for early stages of heart, carotid (stroke), thyroid (nodules), and peripheral arterial disease (early diabetes and hypertension ).

Echocardiogram or ECHO

An echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves (no radiation exposure) to create a moving picture of the heart.  It shows the function, size, shape and movement of the heart muscle.  This test can also show how the heart valves are working and how blood is flowing through your heart, evaluating the pumping action of the heart.  Heart attacks a rising deadly weapon among cops- July 29, 2013 (our data shows 55% of retired members needed follow up) /Law Enforcement Officers More Likely to Suffer from Heart Disease July 2013.

Carotid Doppler

The major goal of carotid ultrasound is to screen patients for blockage or narrowing of their carotid arteries, which if present may increase their risk of having a stroke.  #3 disease for men and women/ on average, one American dies from stroke every 4 minutes.

Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI)

ABI is a simple, reliable means for diagnosing
PAD (Peripheral arterial disease). Individuals with a high Ankle-brachial index are three to five times more likely to be at risk of heart attacks.  Identifies hypertension -67 million American adults (31%) have high blood pressure—1 in every 3 American adults- hypertension is  extremely high among law enforcement and increases their risk for heart disease and stroke.

Thyroid Ultrasound

This test uses sound waves to determine if a nodule is solid or a fluid-filled cyst. (The risk of cancer is higher in solid nodules.)This test also monitors the growth of nodules and it helps find nodules that are difficult to feel.  National data- thyroid cancer fastest increasing cancer in the US / New York cops’ cancer rate soaring in wake of 9/11. Sept. 30, 2013

Paul DiGiacomo

Detectives' Endowment Association, Inc.
Police Department, City of New York
26 Thomas Street
New York, NY 10007

Tel: 212-587-1000
Fax: 212-732-4863


July 6, 2014                                          IMPORTANT NEWS FOR WTC 911 VICTIMS

Our thanks to Alan Berkowitz for forwarding this impoartant information:

New York City Administrative Code(NEW)

    §  13-252.1  Accidental  disability  retirement;  World  Trade  Center presumption.

1. (a) Notwithstanding any provisions of this  code  or  of
  any  general, special or local law, charter or rule or regulation to the
  contrary, if any condition or  impairment  of  health  is  caused  by  a
  qualifying World Trade Center condition as defined in section two of the
  retirement  and  social  security  law, it shall be presumptive evidence
  that it was incurred in the performance and discharge of  duty  and  the
  natural  and proximate result of an accident not caused by such member's
  own willful negligence, unless  the  contrary  be  proved  by  competent
    (b)  The  New York City Police Pension Fund (NYCPPF) board of trustees
  is hereby authorized to promulgate rules and  regulations  to  implement
  the provisions of this paragraph.
    2.  (a)  Notwithstanding  the  provisions  of  this  chapter or of any
  general, special or local law, charter, administrative code or  rule  or
  regulation  to the contrary, if a member who participated in World Trade
  Center rescue, recovery or cleanup operations as defined in section  two
  of the retirement and social security law, and subsequently retired on a
  service  retirement,  an  ordinary  disability retirement, an accidental
  disability retirement, a performance of duty disability  retirement,  or
  was separated from service with a vested right to deferred payability of
  a  retirement  allowance and subsequent to such retirement or separation
  is determined by the NYCPPF board of trustees to have a qualifying World
  Trade Center condition, as defined in section two of the retirement  and
  social  security  law,  upon  such  determination by the NYCPPF board of
  trustees, it shall be presumed that such disability was incurred in  the
  performance and discharge of duty as the natural and proximate result of
  an accident not caused by such member's own willful negligence, and that
  the  member would have been physically or mentally incapacitated for the
  performance and discharge of duty of the position from which he  or  she
  retired  or  vested  had the condition been known and fully developed at
  the time of the member's retirement  or  separation  from  service  with
  vested rights, unless the contrary is proven by competent evidence.
    (b)  The NYCPPF board of trustees shall consider a reclassification of
  the  member's  retirement  or  vesting  as  an   accidental   disability
  retirement effective as of the date of such reclassification.
    (c)  Such  member's retirement option shall not be changed as a result
  of such reclassification.
    (d)  The  member's  former  employer  at  the  time  of  the  member's
  retirement  shall  have  an  opportunity  to  be  heard  on the member's
  application  for  reclassification  by  the  NYCPPF  board  of  trustees
  according to procedures developed by the NYCPPF board of trustees.
    (e)  The  NYCPPF  board of trustees is hereby authorized to promulgate
  rules and regulations to implement the provisions of this paragraph.
    3. Notwithstanding any other provision  of  this  chapter  or  of  any
  general,  special  or local law, charter, administrative code or rule or
  regulation to the contrary, if a retiree or vestee who: (1) has met  the
  criteria  of subdivision one of this section and retired on a service or
  disability retirement, would  have  met  the  criteria  if  not  already
  retired  on an accidental disability, or was separated from service with
  a vested right to deferred payability of a retirement allowance; and (2)
  has not been retired for more than twenty-five years; and (3) dies  from
  a  qualifying World Trade Center condition, as defined in section two of
  the retirement and social security law, as determined by the  applicable
  head  of  the retirement system or applicable medical board, then unless
  the contrary be proven by competent evidence,  such  retiree  or  vestee
  shall  be  deemed  to  have died as a natural and proximate result of an
  accident sustained in the performance of duty and not  as  a  result  of
  willful  negligence  on  his  or  her  part.  Such retiree's or vestee's
  eligible beneficiary, as set forth in section 13-244 of this subchapter,
  shall be entitled to an accidental death benefit as provided by  section
  13-244  of this subchapter, however, for the purposes of determining the
  salary base upon which the accidental death benefit is  calculated,  the
  retiree or vestee shall be deemed to have died on the date of his or her
  retirement  or  separation  from  service  with  vested rights. Upon the
  retiree's or vestee's death,  the  eligible  beneficiary  shall  make  a
  written application to the head of the retirement system within the time
  for  filing  an application for an accidental death benefit as set forth
  in section 13-244 of  this  subchapter  requesting  conversion  of  such
  retiree's  service,  vested right or disability retirement benefit to an
  accidental death benefit. At the time of such conversion,  the  eligible
  beneficiary  shall  relinquish  all  rights  to the prospective benefits
  payable under the service or disability retirement  benefit,  or  vested
  right  to  such  benefit,  including any post-retirement death benefits,
  since the retiree's or vestee's death. If the  eligible  beneficiary  is
  not  the  only  beneficiary  receiving  or entitled to receive a benefit
  under the service or disability retirement benefit (including,  but  not
  limited  to,  post-retirement death benefits or benefits paid or payable
  pursuant to the retiree's option selection), or that  will  be  eligible
  under  the  vested  right,  the accidental death benefit payments to the
  eligible beneficiary wil            l be reduced by any amounts paid or  payable  to
  any other beneficiary.
    4. Notwithstanding any other provision of this code or of any general,
  special or local law, charter, or rule or regulation to the contrary, if
  a  member  who:  (1)  has  met  the  criteria of subdivision one of this
  section; (2) dies in active service or  after  separating  from  service
  with  a  vested  right to deferred payability of a retirement allowance,
  but prior to the payability of that retirement allowance; and  (3)  dies
  from  a  qualifying  World Trade Center condition, as defined in section
  two of the retirement and social security  law,  as  determined  by  the
  applicable  head of the retirement system or applicable medical board to
  have been caused by such  member's  participation  in  the  World  Trade
  Center rescue, recovery or cleanup operations, as defined in section two
  of  the  retirement and social security law, then unless the contrary be
  proven by competent evidence, such member shall be deemed to  have  died
  as  a  natural  and  proximate  result  of  an accident sustained in the
  performance of duty and not as a result of willful negligence on his  or
  her  part.  Such  member's eligible beneficiary, as set forth in section
  13-244 of this subchapter, shall be  entitled  to  an  accidental  death
  benefit  provided he or she makes written application to the head of the
  retirement system within the time  for  filing  an  application  for  an
  accidental  death  benefit  as  set  forth  in  section  13-244  of this


Click on this link for the complete information: images/DEA FL Dental Benefits.jpg

March 24, 2012                                IMPORTANT UPDATE TO PBA DRUG PLAN

In case you haven't received the letter from the NYPD PBA dated February 23rd, the announcement is that the prescription drug plan lifetime cap for eligible retirees of $120,000 has been eliminated. Any eligible member who has exceeded the lifetime cap in the past is now eligible for prescription drug coverage as of March 1, 2012.

The annual cap still remains in effect and any questions can be answered at Caremark Customer Care at 877-722-7911 or at the PBA Funds Office at 212-349-7560.

December 8, 2011                                 INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR DD-214

This info just came to me from my good friend Mike Maurer. Ret. NYPD & US Army. It may help someone out there, so forward it to your friends. 

Ret. Sgt. Tom Moriarty.

Please pass on to other vets. It's official: DD-214 discharge papers are NOW ONLINE. The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) has provided the following website for veterans to gain access to their DD-214s online:


This may be particularly helpful when a veteran needs a copy of his/her DD-214 for employment purposes. NPRC is working to make it easier for veterans with computers and Internet access to obtain copies of documents from their military files.

Military veterans and the next of kin of deceased former military members may now use a new online military personnel records system to request documents.

Other individuals with a need for documents must still complete the Standard Form 180, which can be downloaded from the online web site. Because the requester will be asked to supply all information essential for NPRC to process the request, delays that normally occur when NPRC has to ask veterans for additional information will be minimized. The new web-based application was designed to provide better service on these requests by eliminating the records centers mailroom and processing time.

Please pass this information on to former military personnel you may know and their dependents.

October 16, 2011                            STEPS TO TAKE UPON DEATH OF RETIREE

We received this useful information from Lou Hollander:

As you are well aware of, I, unfortunately have been sending out obituary notices for retired and active MOS.  This unpleasant task seems to be happening more often.  It seems when this happens, the family is so overwhelmed they don’t realize what notifications have to be made. 

With the assistance of Bobby Ganley, NYPD SBA, Bill Larney, NYPD LBA and the NYPD SOC, I compiled some information that may be very helpful to your loved ones should the situation arise. If I have overlooked something of importance, please let me know and I will update this list.  I have attached the list as a .doc file.  You will need to have MS Word installed on your PC to open it to view or print.  If you don’t have MS Word, you can download a free MS Word viewer http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=4  With this program you can view and print Word documents.  If you want, I can send you the file in .pdf format, which will allow you to view and print as long as you have Adobe Reader installed on your PC.  It may be a good idea to print this out and store with your important papers.

Click here for the attachment Lou sent describing the procedures to follow.

October 4, 2012                       20 YEAR GUARANTEED PENSION BILL SIGNED INTO LAW

This was taken from the LBA web page.  A letter written by LBA President Tommy Sullivan,  (Proud to call one of our own), to his membership regarding the guaranteed 20 year pension.  Please click on the link below.

Guaranteed Pension Bill

I am pleased to report that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has signed the "Guaranteed Pension after 20 Years of Service" bill into LAW!

This new law amends the New York City Administrative Code to protect uniformed police and fire officers, with 20 or more years of service, from losing their pensions if they are fired.

Click here --->to read the letter from LBA President Tom Sullivan (PDF)