Ex-NY Gov. Paterson to Teach at Medical School

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    NBC New York
    David Paterson with actor Fred Armisen on his former radio show in October 2011.

    Former Gov. David Paterson has a new post: teaching medical students about health care policy.

    Paterson said Thursday he's looking forward to bringing his insights on the interplay between medicine, social conditions and politics to the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, where his first lecture is set for Monday.

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    While he has taught policy at other institutions, "I have not done it for a medical school, so that will be a challenge," he said by phone.

    Paterson, whose tenure as governor entailed beginning to prepare the state for the ongoing national health care overhaul, will teach medical students who will start practice in a rapidly changing profession, noted the Harlem-based school's dean, Dr. Robert Goldberg.

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    Paterson "will serve as a tremendous resource for students to be prepared to advocate for their patients," said Goldberg, who is teaching a course with him. Plans also call for the ex-governor to advise the six-year-old school on community relations, pursuing grants and other matters.

    A longtime state senator, Paterson was elected lieutenant governor in 2006. The Democrat became governor after Eliot Spitzer's resignation in 2008.

    During his years in office, he realized that "when you're looking to make improvements medically, the social environment does have an effect on whatever policy you're trying to implement," he recalled Thursday.

    As governor, Paterson established the first state body to begin pivoting New York toward compliance with what would become the Affordable Care Act, the federal law that's reshaping health care.

    He also called for changes in Medicaid that he said would reduce the growth of hospital costs as patients are shifted to less expensive outpatient and home care. However, in 2009, he also proposed funding cuts to home care.

    Other health initiatives the legally blind governor sought or supported included allowing New Yorkers who lose their jobs to continue to get less expensive health care coverage for twice as long; making HIV and AIDS testing routine at all health care facilities; and imposing new restrictions on pharmaceutical companies' efforts to promote their drugs to doctors.

    During a tumultuous two years in the governor's office, Paterson was given credit for his efforts to deal with huge deficits and a dysfunctional legislature but also was damaged by a string of ethical accusations. The state Commission on Public Integrity fined him more than $62,000 over an episode in which he accepted free Yankees tickets for the 2009 World Series; he and staffers later paid for them.

    Paterson ultimately decided not to run in 2010.

    After leaving office, he hosted a radio show for a time on WOR-AM. He also serves on the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

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