health care

Helping young mothers one door at a time

Nov 11, 2018
Avery Schneider/WFBO News

How do you help mothers and babies in need? One door at a time. WBFO's Avery Schneider spent an afternoon in an upstate New York neighborhood to see how  a local agency does it.

Steve Rhodes / Flickr

For some people, their yearly checkup is as easy as heading downstairs on their lunch break, as some companies are moving toward health care methods that put the physicians closer to the workers. That does not necessarily mean, though, that health care has improved at these companies, an author and health director said.

Carolyn Engelhard, director of the Health Policy Program in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, co-authored the book “Health Care Half-Truths: Too many myths, not enough reality.”

This week: Lung cancer screening, flu season and more

Oct 24, 2018

Just 2 percent of the people who qualify for lung cancer screening are enrolled in a screening program, which is designed to find cancers at an early stage, when they are most treatable, says Dr. Leslie Kohman. She is a distinguished service professor of surgery at the Upstate Cancer Center with extensive experience in the diagnosis, treatment and research of lung cancer.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News (file photo)

Single-payer health care for New York has become an issue in the race for governor. Democratic primary challenger Cynthia Nixon say if she’s elected, she’d enact single-payer for New York. Not all of her opponents think that’s a good idea.

Nixon wants New York to adopt a health care system that would bypass insurance companies and expand existing government-funded health care for seniors to all New Yorkers. She spoke to supporters recently in Albany.

"We can have a New York with a single-payer Medicare-for-all system," Nixon said as the crowd applauded.

Intel Free Press/Flickr

Though obstacles still impede its application, telemedicine -- using technology to remotely connect physicians to patients -- is growing throughout the nation and the world, and a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) believes it's a crucial tool to treating patients in the modern age.

Amar Gupta teaches a popular telemedicine course at MIT, and his work has led to several major technological advancements at MIT and other universities. Gupta said telemedicine has an important practical application that is not being fully utilized due to the nature of health care in the U.S. He shared his thoughts with us on "Take Care."

Council of Accountable Physician Practices / Flickr

An opinion piece published in STAT, a health-centered media group, detailed the paradoxical struggle of physicians spending too much time reporting quality data to actually deliver quality medical care to their patients.

Dr. Jerry Penso, president and chief executive officer at AMGA (formerly the American Medical Group Association), wrote that though there are well-meaning intentions behind mandatory quality reporting, the ultimate result is detrimental both to physicians and their patients. We spoke to him this month for "Take Care," WRVO's health and wellness show.

In My Father's Kitchen

Access to health care is important for individuals overall physical, social and mental health. But there are barriers for many Americans according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion -- including the high cost of care, inadequate insurance coverage (or no coverage at all), or lack of available services. As Ellen Abbott reports, there are attempts in many communities to remove these barriers.

Removing barriers to health

Aug 13, 2018
eltpics / Flickr

Health and wellness isn't a right for all people. For many of us, it's a privilege. Whether the issue is cost, transportation, resources or red tape -- many things can get in the way of living a long, health life. This time on "Take Care," we speak to people who are trying to remove these barriers.

The rising cost of health care has become a major point of contention in this year's race for the 22nd Congressional District, including how the candidates have voted on the issue in the past.

Sen. Charles Schumer's Facebook page

New York’s senators are vowing to do everything they can to oppose President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Democrats say among the rights that would be threatened, health care is at the top of the list.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said Trump promised he would appoint a nominee that would undo health care in the form of the Affordable Care Act and reproductive and abortion rights like Roe v. Wade.

eSight Eyewear

It’s not easy to keep up with the latest in health and wellness. Each day, new studies, research and developments in health make it difficult to pick out the most important information for you.

We’ll be sharing a few of the latest developments in health at the end of each episode of “Take Care” this year. As the year goes on, we may even revisit some earlier news to see where things stand months later.

Today we’re covering a couple of interesting ways that health is intersecting technology and the first is quite a breakthrough.

Incidental findings lead to more costs than benefits

Sep 16, 2017
Liz West / Flickr

A chest X-ray ordered by your doctor for the cough you have been dealing with may not reveal anything about your cough, but an entirely different problem. This is called an incidental finding. While these findings can occasionally lead to something good, they can also cause unnecessary worries and costs. Joining us this week to discuss incidental findings is Dr. Robert Shmerling.

Shmerling is the clinical chief of rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, as well as faculty editor of Harvard Health Publications and an associate professor in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

New Yorkers who sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act exchanges for individuals will see their premiums rise by an average of 14 percent, now that the Cuomo administration has approved rate increases for insurers in the exchanges.

Part of the increase is due to worries and uncertainties over the future of the ACA, also known as Obamacare.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The Senate is moving ahead on the repeal and possibly the replacement of the Affordable Care Act, and policy makers in New York are bracing for the worst.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking Tuesday on the Senate floor, painted a grim picture of the current state of the ACA, also known as Obamacare, saying it’s caused pain “for literally millions of families.”

“Premiums have skyrocketed,” McConnell said. “Insurance options have declined.”

He said in some states, there is only one carrier available — and in some cases, there are none.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) kicked off a series of town halls across the state at Syracuse University Friday. The generally friendly audience gave Gillibrand a warm reception but asked questions on the biggest issues facing Washington.

Gillibrand was welcomed with a standing ovation but the attention quickly turned to health care and President Donald Trump. Gillibrand called the Republican health care bill "terrible" and said millions of people could lose coverage.

This week, Republicans in Congress will try to rally votes behind a bill that proposes major changes to the way Americans get health care and how much they pay. In New York, many could be affected. Experts estimate cuts in the original Senate bill would leave New York on the hook for between $4 billion and $8 billion.

Use this Q&A to explore how the bill would affect you:

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Regardless of politics, New York state will most likely continue with its New York State of Health official health insurance marketplace, according to Steve Wood, director of insurance programs at ACR Health in Syracuse. He said New York is committed to the program that grew out of the Affordable Care Act.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

ACR Health in Syracuse has opened a new clinic to provide health care for injection drug users. The agency hopes the facility can reach people who may feel alienated by the health care system.

Thirty-two-year old Jeremy Fiorino of Syracuse was the first patient at the clinic, which opened up this week. A heroin addict since 2012, he’s been clean now for 54 days.

"I had an abscess from when I was actively using, and I got some antibiotics, and they checked up on it,” said Fiorino.

St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center / Facebook

St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center is continuing to partner with smaller regional hospitals throughout upstate New York. The latest venture is a collaboration with Rome Memorial Hospital.

 

Rome Memorial will still operate as an independent, separately licensed hospital, with local control, but a new agreement allows patients in Rome to have access to technology and services from the much bigger hospital in Syracuse.

Bret Jaspers / WSKG News

As the baby boomer generation ages, more and more Americans are planning for the end of life. In the Southern Tier, a new home for the terminally ill has been in the works for months, and it's modeling itself after Francis House in Syracuse.

Construction is well underway at Mercy House, in the old St. Casimir's Church in Endicott. Mercy House will be a home for terminally ill people who have six months or less to live. 

Doctors Harold Smulyan and Donald Blair (of Upstate University Hospital) look at the history of infective endocarditis -- an inflammation of the inner lining of the heart and its tissues, usually caused by a bacterial infection -- in a paper published in the American Journal of the Medical Sciences.

The disease was first reported in the early 1800s, and "before the development of antibiotics, this disease was uniformly fatal," says Dr. Smulyan, a cardiologist. Dr. Blair is a specialist in infectious disease.

Surgery is a valuable weight loss option for people with obesity, says Dr. Howard Simon, the chief of bariatric surgery at Upstate University Hospital. He describes obesity as a complicated disease for which a gastric bypass or gastric sleeve operation may offer treatment.

Such surgeries are usually done in a minimally invasive way, and are part of a comprehensive approach to weight loss that involves counselors, nutritionists and others to help the patient achieve and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

An aging population and the Affordable Care Act help ensure the demand for physician assistants, physical therapists and other health care providers will continue, says Hugh Bonner, the former dean of Upstate Medical University’s College of Health Professions.

“Between 2000 and 2030, we will double the population of those 65 and older. We’ll go from essentially 35 million to 70 million people. That population also has a large number of individuals with chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes,” Bonner says.

James Abbott, Thomas Campbell and James Rosenberg, three former chief executives of Syracuse's public hospital, describe the challenges they faced from the 1950s to the 1990s on this week’s show. 

They helped shape health care as it underwent a revolution in the 20th century, including new technologies and quicker, less invasive surgeries. Despite all the changes, Abbott, Campbell and Rosenberg believe the fundamental task of hospitals hasn’t changed -- keeping the patients comfortable and treating them with humanity.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Central New York boosters of universal health care are celebrating this week, after the state Assembly passed the New York Health Act.

The legislation would provide universal, comprehensive health care to all New Yorkers.

“What it means is -- basically -- when you’re born, you have health insurance,” says retired physician Joal Potash. He volunteers at free medical clinics in Syracuse.

Medical problems that afflict inmates are not much different than the ailments that are common in the central New York community, according to Dr. Anne Calkins.

Dr. Calkins leads the medical team providing care for adults incarcerated at the Justice Center jail in downtown Syracuse and the Jamesville Correctional Facility, and for youths at the Hillbrook Juvenile Detention Center in Syracuse.

frankieleon / Flickr

Dealing with a major medical crisis in your life is stressful enough. But suppose something goes wrong, and the outcome isn't what you had expected? When does a patient move from being merely disgruntled and dissatisfied to seriously considering a lawsuit?

This week on “Take Care,” Chris Stern Hyman discusses medical malpractice and its principles. Hyman is a healthcare attorney, former litigator and founder of Medical Mediation Group in New York City.

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.

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