January, 2016


New York State Minimum Wage Increase: The minimum wage rate in New York will increase to $9.00 beginning Jan. 1, 2016. NYTHA has ordered new Minimum Wage Posters, and Nick Caras and his team from the Race Track Chaplaincy of America-NY will, once again, be on the backstretch at Aqueduct and Belmont Park to put up the new posters in each barn. If you do not have a new poster by Feb. 1, 2016, please call the NYTHA Office at (718) 848-5045 and we will deliver one to you. 

NYTHA Responds to NYS Gaming Commission Notices of Proposed Rule-Making: NYTHA has submitted responses to three rules recently proposed by the New York State Gaming Commission. The three rules are:

Post-race Testing of Claimed Horses – Would eliminate the automatic testing of claimed horses, and give owners the option of paying to have a horse they’ve claimed tested. Click here for the NYTHA Response. Deadline for comments, Jan. 4, 2016.

Multiple Medication Violation Penalties – Would adopt the Multiple Medication Violation Penalty System that is part of the National Uniform Medication Program. Click here for the NYTHA Response. Deadline for comments, Jan. 4, 2016.

Update to Medication Thresholds and Time Restrictions – Would amend drug rules to adopt thresholds for albuterol and isoflupredone consistent with the National Uniform Medication Program; adopt a threshold for cobalt per the RMTC model rule; and update the threshold for ketoprofen.  Click here for the NYTHA Response. Deadline for comments, Jan. 19, 2016.

If you would like to respond to any of these proposed rules personally, submit your written comments to gamingrules@gaming.ny.gov or to Kristen M. Buckley, One Broadway Center, Suite 600, Schenectady, NY 12305.

RMTC Adds Four Medications to Controlled Therapeutic Substance List: During its October meeting, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) added four medications to the Controlled Therapeutic Substances List of the National Uniform Medication Program: cetirizine (antihistamine), cimetidine (anti-ulcer), guaifenesin (expectorant) and ranitidine (anti-ulcer). The guidelines for these four medications have not yet been adopted by the New York State Gaming Commission. Click here for RMTC recommendations on Administration and Withdrawal Times for all of the medications on the Controlled Therapeutic Substance List.
New Health Plan for Backstretch Workers: New York State is now offering a new Health Plan for lower-income individuals and families. “The Essential Plan” offers high-quality health insurance from top insurance companies in New York at sharply discounted rates. It is available to lower income people who don`t qualify for Medicaid or Child Health Plus. Low income is defined by the State as follows:
Household Size                  Maximum Income
   1                                         $23,540
   2                                         $31,860
   3                                         $40,180
   4                                         $48,500
The cost of the plan is, at most, $20 per month per person. “The Essential Plan” offers no deductibles and free preventative care; it covers all doctor visits including specialists, as well as lab tests ordered by a doctor and prescription drugs, and includes in-patient and out-patient care at selected hospitals. The plan begins Jan. 1, 2016, and, unlike in the past, open enrollment is available year round.

“This is a great opportunity for improved coverage for many backstretch workers, and at a greatly reduced price,” explained Paul Ruchames, executive director of the Backstretch Employee Service Team. “BEST is enrolling workers now utilizing ‘navigators’ approved under the Affordable Care Act,  and trainers should feel free to contact me if they have any questions. I believe there are ways that trainers currently offering health insurance to their employees can save a lot on their present health insurance costs through this new policy. I’d be glad to discuss this with any trainers who are interested.”

New Chiropractor Treating Backstretch Workers and Horsemen: Chiropractor Tom Gregory, who had been treating backstretch workers, as well as owners and trainers, at Belmont Park, has relocated to North Carolina. The new chiropractor is Dr. Ira Mittleman. While Dr. Mittleman will not provide treatment on site, his office is just about a mile and a quarter from Gate 8 at Belmont, at 181 Landau Avenue in Elmont, in the neighborhood of Covert Avenue/Sewanaka High School.

Dr. Mittleman can be reached by phone at: (516) 488-4044 (office) or (516) 695-1541 (cell), or by email at: dc10ispro@aol.com.

“He sees patients Monday, Wednesday and Friday and he speaks sufficient Spanish to help our workers who don`t speak English well,” said BEST Executive Director Paul Ruchames. “He will work with backstretch workers for free, or for donations in whatever amount the worker can afford. He will also treat owners and trainers for a very reasonable fee.

“I have used him twice, and think he is a skilled and careful practitioner. He is a good resource for the racing community,” Ruchames added.

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