health care

Pregnant women, sex workers and men having sex with men are recommended to be tested for exposure to syphilis since health officials have noticed an increase in cases of the sexually-transmitted disease.

"We started to see these rates spike the last couple of years, quite significantly," said Indu Gupta, MD, health commissioner for Onondaga County.

Oliver Symens / Flickr

Keeping track of health information for children and the elderly has always been a complicated task. Care for these groups has slowly moved to the Internet to make their personal information easier to manage and access by their loved ones. But does that convenience endanger the privacy of their information at all?

This week on “Take Care,” hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen talk to Jonathan Schwartz about the benefits of using a new website to manage loved ones’ health information. Schwartz is the co-founder and chief executive officer of CareZone, an online service that enables families to organize care of their relatives.

nystateofhealth.ny.gov

 

The deadline to file your tax return is just under two months away. As many Americans file, they’re finding there are more questions about health insurance on the annual tax forms than ever before based on changes in place because of the Affordable Care Act.
 

In New York, and several other states, people who find they owe a penalty on their 2014 tax return will now have a special enrollment period to sign up for health coverage.

comedy_nose / Flickr

  The final number of New Yorkers who signed up for health insurance through the state exchange this year tops a half a million.

New York State of Health Marketplace is claiming more than 564 thousand new enrollees for 2015. Add that to last year’s numbers and more than 2.1 million people have used the state exchange for health insurance in the first 2 years of the Affordable Care Act.

Donna Frescatore is the Executive Director of the state marketplace. She’s says a close to 90 percent renewal rate for people with private health plans points to stability.

Office of Emergency and Public Health Preparedness / Flickr

After the recent measles outbreak, citizens, medical professionals, advocacy groups and government entities were all talking about "public health." But public health is an ongoing issue -- one that requires more attention. That's according to Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City's health commissioner. This week on "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak with Dr. Wen about the importance of public health.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The deadline is approaching to sign up for health insurance for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and one Syracuse agency that signs people up for plans wants to make sure the word about that deadline is out.

February 15 is the last day that individuals can buy health insurance during this year’s open enrollment period. People who don’t meet that deadline will face a tax penalty.

Steve Wood, of ACR Health in Syracuse, expects there will be people who won’t meet the deadline.

Alzheimer’s disease advocates in central New York are joining the national calling for more money to be spent on treatment research and a cure for the disease.

The federal government currently spends half a billion dollars a year on finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and it has left some potential cures without the money to fund trials that lead to FDA approval.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) was one of three House of Representative Republicans who voted this week against a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Katko has said all along that he wouldn't vote for a full-scale repeal, unless there is an alternative to the sweeping health care law.

The congressman says Republican leadership was aware of how he would vote. In a statement following the vote, Katko said he was disappointed that the bill didn't provide a real solution to the rising costs of health care.

ClintJCL / Flickr

Doctors are less likely to order unneeded repeat tests when they have patient information at their fingertips. A study in the American Journal of Managed Care shows use of an electronic health information exchange reduces repeat medical imaging.

X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds and other medical imaging test are useful in patient diagnosis, but doctors say they can be overused.

Senate Democrats / Flickr

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) says there is a shortcoming in health insurance for disabled veterans that’s depriving their children of coverage.

Family members of disabled military service members are allowed to receive health coverage under a Veterans Administration program called CHAMPVA. But Schumer says that program needs to be amended to be in line with the rest of the health care world under the Affordable Care Act.

This week: medical providers who volunteer knowledge, skills

Jan 23, 2015

Nurse Laurie Rupracht is recruiting medical professionals to accompany her on a trip to Ghana (her fifth) through the Americans Serving Abroad Project. As in previous years, her group will staff a mobile medical clinic in villages at least 100 miles from a hospital.

"People are afraid to go anywhere in Africa, thinking Ebola is everywhere. Ghana has not had one case of Ebola," she says.

Health exchange official pleased with state sign-ups

Jan 8, 2015
Possible Health / Flickr

Traffic on the New York State of Health website is holding steady following the first deadline for open enrollment.

Donna Frescatore, executive director of the New York State of Health Benefit Exchange, is pleased with the numbers of New Yorkers signing up for health insurance on the marketplace.

New York State Health Department officials saw an increase in the numbers of enrollees in time to get covered at the start of the New Year. Frescatore says she expects more high traffic days as the next deadlines roll around.

jasleen_kaur / Flickr

The New York State Palliative Care Collaborative was formed recently to promote more access to this specialized type of medical care that provides relief to patients with serious diseases.

Palliative care emphasizes improving quality of life while a person copes with chronic and serious health conditions.

Michael Burgess, New York government relations director of the American Cancer Society, says the collaborative wants to assure comfort care is a right to all seriously ill patients.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

A downstate Democrat is trying to reinvigorate a plan to create a publicly funded, single-payer health care system in New York state. Assemblyman Richard Gottfried is getting the ball rolling with a series of legislative hearings, including the first in Syracuse.

Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat, says getting rid of insurance companies and putting the state in charge of health care would save consumers $20 billion a year by eliminating insurance company overhead and the administrative costs doctors and hospitals incur while dealing with insurance companies.  

Sudipto Sarkar / Flickr

On the anniversary of the Great American Smokeout, a leading anti-cancer group says Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration should be spending more to cut back on smoking.

The American Cancer Society’s Michael Burgess says while the Centers for Disease Control recommends New York state spend $200 million annually on tobacco cessation programs, the current state budget has just under $40 million allotted for it. Burgess says in the past, it’s been demonstrated that spending the money on things like a smokers quit line works.

Open enrollment begins with window shopping

Nov 17, 2014
nystateofhealth.ny.gov

The second year of open enrollment for health insurance in both state and federal exchanges began over the weekend.

U.S. Health and Human Services opened HealthCare.gov early with a new “window-shopping” feature.

Jessica Kendall, director of the Enrollment Assister Network for FamiliesUSA, says the changes intend to make the process of purchasing health insurance easier.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period begins Saturday. One Syracuse agency is getting ready to help people who want to sign up or make a change in their health insurance policies.

In the first year of the Affordable Care Act, ACR Health in Syracuse signed up 8,000 central New Yorkers through the New York State of Health website, and about 6,000 of those people completed their health insurance enrollment. Now it’s time for the agency to get back to work during the next open enrollment period.

Getting physical: is the physical exam becoming obsolete?

Oct 19, 2014
Joon Park / danielleofri.com

You may consider the physical exam an essential part of any visit to the doctor’s office, but its role in health care has seen a general decline over recent years due to improved technology, questions regarding the necessity of the exam, and the dearth of time that doctors have to properly evaluate each patient.

This week on “Take Care,” Dr. Danielle Ofri talks about the importance of the physical exam and its role in providing effective health care.  Ofri is an internist at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan and writes about medicine and the doctor-patient connection in The New York Times.

jasleen_kaur / Flickr

Two New York state regional health information exchanges have been nationally accredited for the security of their systems. 

The Healthcare Information Xchange of New York and Rochester RHIO (Regional Health Information Organization) were recently accredited by the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission.

The commission evaluated the regional exchanges for the privacy, security, and confidentiality of a program that directly alerts primary care doctors when their patients have been treated, for example in an emergency room.

St. Joseph's Hospital

The new Christina Nappi Surgical Tower at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse features 110 private rooms for patients recovering from surgery. This concept of private room care is an innovative healthcare approach that experts say is the wave of the future.

The halls and rooms don’t look like a typical post-surgical room. They’re large, and able to accommodate all the latest medical technology. There are mechanical lifts at each bed, a special area for family and cabinets that provide all the essentials for a patient recovering from surgery.
 

Deciding when to stop treatment

Aug 3, 2014
Bob Harwig / Flickr

It is one thing to have a natural death, but it is a different issue entirely when a potentially fatal illness forces you to make difficult treatment decisions.  These decisions can often be complicated by the wishes of the patient, family members, doctors, and even spiritual beliefs, but there are ways to make the process less difficult those involved.

This week on “Take Care,” Dr. Barron Lerner discusses how best to deal with situations in which medical treatment becomes futile.  Lerner is a professor of medicine at New York University and the author of The Good Doctor:  A Father, a Son and the Evolution of Medical Ethics.

Click 'Read More' to hear our interview with Dr. Lerner.

A new report recommends that New York simplify its organ donation process, because 18 people die per day in the state awaiting a transplant. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield conducted the study. The company's medical director, Dr. Martin Lustick, says they found that just 22 percent of New Yorkers are registered donors, compared to 48 percent nationally.

"Unlike states that have a high rate of registration, our process for registering is somewhat more cumbersome than the average across the country," Lustick said.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

A new, higher level of medical care is now available at the Onondaga County Justice Center. The new infirmary is located in the downtown Syracuse jail that holds prisoners awaiting trials or transfer to other facilities.

There has always been space for an infirmary in the almost 20-year-old jail, but cost considerations kept Onondaga County from staffing it. Now, the medical organization the county contracts out to can offer the advanced level of training needed for the staff that already works in the jail’s medical unit.

The Onondaga County Medical Society has taken an official stance against the proposed realignment of the Human Services Division of Onondaga County's government. The physicians organization believes the plan to take the Maternal Health and Child Wellness programs out of the purview of the Health Department is a bad move.

The organization has six major concerns about the move, says society treasurer Dr. Richard Beers. He says it starts with the unintended consequences of changing the relationship doctors already have with health care providers involved in the county’s programs.

St. Joseph's Hospital

Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse is expanding it’s relationship with a North Country hospital. Agreements like the one between St. Joe’s and the Lewis County General Hospital could be the wave of future health care in more rural areas of New York state.

People who are finding it difficult to pay for a health insurance policy offered through New York sate’s health care exchanges, may find a more affordable plan, if a proposal in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget goes through.

The governor’s proposed spending plan would allow New York to offer what’s called a "basic health care plan," according to Mary Clark, regional director of Citizen Action League of New York.

“That would really opens the doors to provide coverage at extremely low cost to families at 200 percent of poverty,” she said.

Joanna Richards

Hospitals around the country are all under the same pressures: a turn toward outpatient and preventive care, low Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates, and increasing regulations. It’s the same in Carthage. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center has expanded it’s primary care center in one poverty stricken Syracuse neighborhood. The new center will offer a single location where patients can get many medical needs met on the city’s near Westside.

The Primary Care Center-West has been around on Gifford Street since the mid-1990s. Medical Director Luis Castro says the expansion not only quadruples the size of the facility, but creates a kind of one-stop shop for patients.

Courtesy Onodaga County Medical Society

Health care, and particularly the world of physicians, is changing. The new president of the Onondaga County Medical Society says it’s a result of a business model that ends up limiting how doctors do their jobs.

Dr. David Halleran says over the past couple of decades, the business model of medicine has focused on profits and efficiency. And he believes that has created a more disparate medical community.

Joanna Richards

The North Country Family Health Center, in Watertown, is still working to gain long-term financial stability after nearly closing in October. Now, another Watertown health care provider is getting a bailout to stay afloat. This time, it’s Family Counseling Service of Northern New York. 

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