Upstate Medical University

Upstate Medical University’s incoming president has spent some time this month getting to know her new community.

In January, Danielle Laraque-Arena will take the reins of institution that is a hospital, but also an educational center.  As vice president of Maimonides Infants and Children’s Hospital of Brooklyn, she’s been involved in a lot of community-based work, and expects that to continue in Syracuse. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The New York State Nurses Association held a rally at the state fairgrounds yesterday to launch their “Protect Quality Patient Care for Central New Yorkers” campaign. Many upstate medical centers and health department nurses are in the early stages of negotiating new contracts with hospital management.  Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, the president of the union, came out to the event and said they are pushing for an increase in nurse staffing and community input for care.

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States, but the number of heart disease related deaths has declined over the past 50 years and continues to do so.

This week on “Take Care,” New York Times health and science reporter Gina Kolata talks about the minor changes hospitals have made to heart attack treatments that might have an impact on heart disease deaths in the U.S.

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The leading cause of death in the U.S. has seen an incredible drop in the last decade or so. That's because hospitals have made a series of small changes that have led to the survival of more heart attack victims. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Linda Lowen and Lorraine Rapp speak with New York Times health and science reporter Gina Kolata about what she found were the reasons behind this change.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Union members at financially distressed hospitals across the state are taking action to urge state budget negotiators to include funding for these hospitals in the final state spending plan.  

The state’s biggest health care union, 1199SEIU, is highlighting what it says is a critical piece of funding, vital to keeping 28 financially troubled hospitals afloat.  

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The American Nurses Association reports 8 out of 10 nurses say they frequently work with joint or back pain. The nursing profession has the highest rate of on-the-job injuries of any other in the country. According to many the solution to both problems: more nurses on staff at hospitals.

"The nurses, in many ways, are the last line of defense against harm to patients," John James, founder of Patient Safety America. His organization campaigns to lower the number of injuries to patients in the hospital.

Eighty percent of hospitals in New York state face penalties based on the number of Medicare patients that are readmitted into their care.

The federal government wants to reduce the number of avoidable hospital readmissions. This is the third year Medicare will cut reimbursements to hospitals based on the number of patients who have to check back in with complications from lung ailments, heart failure, heart attack, pneumonia, or after a hip or knee replacement.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Upstate Medical University Hospital’s community campus has added a new unit for older patients who may need a little more time recovering from a hospital stay.

There’s already a waiting list for the new Transitional Care Unit that's on the fifth floor of the former Community General Hospital. Unit nursing director Amy Rottger, says the idea is to help senior patients who, while clinically stable, still need physician oversight and specialized services.

Joanna Richards / NCPR

Hospitals have been working for years to digitize patient medical records, but now New York state is expanding a system to centralize the record-keeping of multiple hospitals.

A patient’s medical history may be in the computer at their primary care doctor’s office. And their records may be digitized at the hospital they’ve been treated at, "however, many of those systems can’t easily or fluently communicate with one another," said Dr. Rainu Kaushal, who chairs the Weill Cornell Medical College’s healthcare policy program.

Now that the state budget is done, the focus at the Capitol is shifting to other priorities, including whether to allow medical marijuana. Advocates came to the Capitol to lobby lawmakers, but the bill is getting bogged down over political skirmishes.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver caused a bit of a stir when he seemed to say that a bill to legalize medical marijuana might be dead for the year, saying he does not think it has a future in the 2014 session.

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.

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. 

A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that, despite healthcare spending that has reached nearly $3 trillion each year in the U.S., few general medicine programs around the country are teaching new physicians to practice cost-conscious care.

A survey of nearly 300 residency programs around the U.S revealed that the vast majority of healthcare providers believe it’s their responsibility to help decrease rising costs.

News Briefs: Tuesday, Jan. 28

Jan 28, 2014
Erin Gardner/File Photo

A new law requires New York hospitals to screen newborns for heart defects; unemployment rates are down in the state (for the most part); if you don't feel like shoveling that sidewalk, you may end up with a fine; and $56 million in funds has been awarded to New York hospitals. Catch up on the news of the day with WRVO's news briefs.

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.

In a little more than six months, the Affordable Care Act will change the lay of the land for healthcare in this country. For hospitals, it continues changes that started a decade ago, says Richard Umbdenstock, the president of the American Hospital Association, who was in Syracuse Monday.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Time is critical when it comes to treating a suspected heart attack. That's why local EMTs and emergency room doctors are happy about new cardiac technology getting into more ambulances.

Joanna Richards

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer was at Lewis County General Hospital on Friday, touting the return of funding for New York's rural hospitals. The funding had been suspended for three months by Congress, and Schumer worked with Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa to reinstate the funding as part of Congress's fiscal cliff deal.

Galisano Children's Hospital

In the midst of treatments, tubes and needles, there's a place for patients at the Golisano Children's Hospital in Syracuse to go and find some peace.  A one-of-a-kind multi-sensory room takes kids away from the stress of a hospital setting.

There is a deadline looming in Washington, D.C. that many politicians are worried could have an effect on the economy -- including some local politicians who are worried it might hurt upstate New York in particular.