health care

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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.  

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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.

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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. 

Credit Kate O'Connell / WXXI

Many health care providers don’t know when their patients are admitted or discharged from the hospital or seen by an ambulance crew. That makes it harder to deliver comprehensive care.

To address this issue, the Rochester Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO) has set up a simple alert system that’s aimed at improving quality of care.

Kate O'Connell / Innovation Trail

The Innovation Trail is looking at how refugees have weaved their way into upstate New York's changing economy.

On a recent fall day, community health nurse Sarah Miner is welcomed warmly into the home of Somali refugee Abdalla. Miner works with HCR Home Care in Rochester and she’s been visiting Abdalla and his family for a while now.

There’s less than a month until the Dec. 7 deadline, when Medicare’s open enrollment period ends.

Blaine Longnecker, a sales consultant out of Syracuse’s Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield office, said seniors eligible for the federal health insurance program who are looking to change their plan shouldn't bide their time.

Amid ongoing problems with the federal health insurance exchange website, New York is one of a handful of states where residents can successfully enroll through the state's health insurance marketplace, according to state officials.

Elisabeth Benjamin, a New York state health navigator, said the site did have some glitches in the first two weeks, but said now she is thrilled with the exchange's success so far.  

Joanna Richards

The head of the North Country Children's Clinic in Watertown says he'll resign after Friday. A spokeswoman for Samaritan Medical Center, which is temporarily operating the clinic, said Dan Wasneechak  submitted his resignation yesterday. She said he gave no reason for his decision.

Since it opened in July, the geriatric emergency room, known as GEM Care, at the Upstate University Hospital Community Campus is getting more seniors in the emergency department compared to a year ago.

GEM Care Director Dr. Jaime Ciacco said the new emergency department has achieved the goal of having fewer seniors admitted to the hospital after those visits.

He also said one thing they are finding at the facility, is that they're fixing the small things that can often be overlooked in a senior's health care.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said threats in Congress to defund Obamacare won’t have any effect on the federal Affordable Health Care Act going forward in New York.

Cuomo said even if Congress is gridlocked over funding for the federal health care act, New York will still be going ahead on Oct. 1 with the required health care exchanges.

 “The health exchange is up and running,” Cuomo said on a trip to Niagara Falls. “I don’t believe there’s going to be any effect on the state.”

On air: health care for veterans & the military

Sep 19, 2013

This health forum broadcast on WRVO Sunday, November 17 at 7 p.m.

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Four hospitals in upstate New York have been given poor grades and put on a "watch list" by a private health care watchdog group.

The Niagara Health Quality Coalition has been ranking New York state’s best and worst hospitals for a decade, and the latest report card released on Sunday shows a mixed bag in upstate New York.

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As delays pile up in the implementation of components of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded $150 million to the nation’s health care centers as part of an outreach and enrollment program for patients with low incomes.

The grants will help centers provide advice regarding the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, and how it will affect people’s current health coverage as well as those who are currently uninsured.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Sen. Charles Schumer is trying to get the federal labor department to steer $23 million to New York's community colleges so they can set up a health care worker training program.

The State University of New York is applying for the grant. It's similar to one SUNY won last year for high-tech manufacturing.

Twenty-nine community college campuses are listed on the grant application, and would split the grant money. The schools would also partner with area hospitals.

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Watson, the IBM supercomputer, is best known for its historic win on the television game show, Jeopardy. But, the same components that made the system a quiz show winner could be redirected toward lowering the cost of health care in upstate New York.

According to Steve Gold, vice president for IBM’s Watson Solutions division, the amount of available medical knowledge doubles every five years. While that can provide a challenge for individual physicians to keep up with, it’s something Watson thrives on.

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