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Hospice Month Guess who volunteers the most?

November 2013 • Issue 167

CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Okay to say ‘No thank you’ this Thanksgiving

Troubles with Modern

Thanksgiving Dinner My son is now a vegan, daughter only eats gluten-free, no nuts for my cousin, husband is on a diet.

Oh my! Page 13

Apps that Can Boost Seniors’ Health

CREMATION Roughly 40 percent of Americans now choose cremation. Find out how to find affordable services


Why Married People Diagnosed with Cancer Live Longer Than Singles

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Saving Lives in CNY for 30 Years

Meet Your Doctor Ken Cooper is the first in CNY to perform single-site s gall bladder surgery


Fighting for Better Ostomy Coverage November 2013 •

The emergency communication device that seniors attach to their wrists or use as pendants — known as Lifeline— is celebrating 30 years in Central New York. It has come a long way from the bulky, complicated and unattractive devices of the past.

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Dinner starting at 6:00 pm., Presentation starts at 6:30 p.m. This is event is free, but registration is required. To register please RSVP online at www.epiny. org or call (315) 477-9777, Extension 0. Please leave a message in the general mailbox. Dr. Tovar Spinoza, Pediatric Neurosurgeon at SUNY Upstate Medical Center, will present her success using laser technology to eradicate tumors/tubers. A surgical patient will also be attending to share their experiences. This is a great opportunity to get educated in this new treatment that may help you, or someone you know, with Epilepsy.

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Cardiac Care � Follow us on Facebook and Twitter: stjosephshealth Blue Distinction® Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. Blue Distinction® Centers+ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable healthcare. Individual outcomes may vary. National criteria is displayed on A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for facilities located in its own service area. For details on Local Blue Plan Criteria, a provider’s in-network status, or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan. Each hospital’s Cost Index is calculated with data from its Local Blue Plan. Hospitals in CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in two Local Blue Plans’ areas, resulting in two Cost Index figures; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether one or both Cost Index figures must meet BDC+ national criteria. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for damages or non-covered charges resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers. St. Joseph’s is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis. Franciscan Companies is a member of the St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center system.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • November 2013

Married People Diagnosed with Cancer Live Longer Than Singles

Large study finds association between marriage and cancer outcomes


ew results from a large retrospective study of the National Cancer Institute’s SEER database show that patients with cancer who were married at the time of diagnosis live markedly longer compared to unmarried patients. Researchers also found that married patients are more likely to be diagnosed with earlier-stage disease and much more likely to receive the appropriate therapy. This study is the first to show a consistent and significant benefit of marriage on survival among each of the 10 leading causes of cancer-related death in the United States lung, colorectal, breast, pancreatic, prostate, liver/bile duct, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, head and neck, ovarian, and esophageal cancer. It has been established previously that social support, including assistance with decision-making, instruction regarding coping strategies, and management of depression and anxiety, extends survival after a diagnosis of

cancer. “Marriage probably improves outcomes among patients with cancer through increased social support,” said lead study author Ayal Aizer, a chief resident in radiation oncology at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “Our results suggest that patients who are not married should reach out to friends, cancer support or faith-based groups, and their doctors to obtain adequate social support.” For patients who are married, spouses are typically their primary sources of social support sharing the emotional toll of the illness, accompanying them to doctors’ visits, and ensuring they follow through with recommended treatments. It had been suggested that marriage might improve outcomes for patients with cancer, but prior studies on the effect of marital status have not been conclusive. The study assessed clinical and demographic data from the SEER registry on 734,889 patients diagnosed between 2004 and 2008.

One-Third of U.S. Adults Are Obese, CDC Says The number hasn’t budged for years, agency notes


he adult obesity rate in the United States remains as high as ever, with one in three Americans carrying unhealthy amounts of weight, according to a new federal report. The obesity rate has remained essentially unchanged for a decade, despite the large amount of attention focused on its threat to public health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. “It’s kind of a confirmation of what we saw last time, that the prevalence of obesity in adults may be leveling off,” said co-author Cynthia Ogden, a senior epidemiologist with the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. “From 2003-04 through 2011-12, there have been no statistical changes in obesity in adults.”

This persistent rate has proved frustrating to public-health experts, given that obesity is a leading risk factor for chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. “The goal of the human species since we evolved has been to have enough to eat, and we’ve gotten there. Unfortunately, it’s so plentiful we can take in more than [we] need,” said Matt Petersen, managing director of medical information and professional engagement for the American Diabetes Association. “The human body and brain is wired to take in more than a sufficient number of calories, and that’s a hard thing to change. We’re talking about really powerful aspects of our metabolism.”

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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Nov. 6, 13

Hospice holds informational fairs in Liverpool To celebrate hospice month, Hospice of Central New York will offer two information fairs at its Liverpool campus at 990 Seventh North Street. The fairs are designed to help people who have question and concerns about caring for seriously ill patients and first time caregivers. The first fair will be from 2 – 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 6. The second one will be held from 4 – 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 13. Some of the topics will include how to have difficult conversations to plan for end of life choices; how hospice and palliative care can help patients and their family; and how to prepare family with advance directives in place. The information fair is free and offers child care. For more information call 634-1100 or go to

Nov. 7, 8

St. Joe’s offers CEN exam review seminar St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center will host a certified emergency nurse (CEN) exam review seminar from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7, and Friday, Nov. 8, at St. Joseph’s Hospital’s 410 Hickory St. training room, located

in the human resources building at the corner of Hickory Street and Prospect Avenue on the hospital main campus. Registration is required. There are four ways to register: online at, by phone at 704-3335020 or 800-763-3332 or by mail at 1911 Charlotte Drive, Charlotte, N.C. 28203. For details on the seminar content, visit CENExamReview.

Nov. 6, 13, 20 and 27

‘Foundations of Dementia Care’ held in Syracuse The Alzheimer’s Association, Central New York Chapter is presenting “Foundations of Dementia Care” to professional caregivers in Central New York. The Foundations of Dementia Care is a series of nine modules presented over the course of four sessions held at 8 a.m., Nov. 6, 13, 20 and 27, 2013, at SUNY Oswego Metro Center, 2 Clinton Square in Syracuse. Facility staff and home care professionals will learn the essential skills for dementia care. Modules include: about dementia, enhancing mealtime, improving communications, making connections, promoting restraint-free care, reducing pain, reducing risk of falls, understanding behavior, and understanding wandering. modules are grouped into sessions of three to four hours in length. Registration is $75 per person

per session or $200 per person for the entire series, and can be completed online at or by phone at 315-472-4201, ext.108, Professional training conducted by the Alzheimer’s Association, Central New York Chapter is led by experts in the field of dementia care. Its team of professionals have diverse human services experiences: long-term care, social work, care planning and therapeutic recreation environments. This unique blend of backgrounds gives the chapter an appreciation for facility issues and allows facilities to design a program that fits its individual needs.

Nov. 12

Urinary incontinence, and pelvic prolapse: seminar St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center will host a free informational session titled, “Female Urinary Incontinence and Pelvic Prolapse: How Are They Treated?” at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at West Genesee High School’s library classroom, located at 5201 W. Genesee St. in Camillus. Use the entrance on the far right of the building facing Lowe’s. Light refreshments will be served. Gynecologists Samuel Badalian and Myron Luthringer will explain the signs and symptoms, review management options, discuss the latest procedures and answer gynecology questions. Space is limited. To register, call St. Joseph’s at 315-744-1244 or email

Nov. 14

CNY Diabetes Forum held at Community Campus Upstate Medical University is hosting its 13th annual CNY Diabetes

Forum from 5 – 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14. The event will be hosted at Upstate University Hospital’s Community Campus located at 4900 Broad Road in Syracuse. The event brings together physicians, nurses and dietitians from Upstate Medical University who will discuss a variety of issues related to living with diabetes. Physician Ruth Weinstock, distinguished service professor and medical director of the Joslin Diabetes Center, will present “Diabetes and Technology” at 6 p.m. Weinstock, founder and medical director of the Upstate Joslin Diabetes Center, has more than 130 original research publications. From 7 to 8 p.m., special sessions will discuss “Diabetes and Phone Apps,” “Update on Insulin Pumps” and “Update on Blood Glucose Meters.” A vendor fair opens the event from 5 to 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and parking is free. For more information and to register, call 1 -800-464-8668.

Dec. 14

Nursing school hosts annual Breakfast with Santa St. Joseph’s College of Nursing is hosting its annual Breakfast with Santa at 9 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Carnegie Conference Center, located at Driver’s Village, 5885 East Circle Drive in Cicero. The fundraiser benefits the College of Nursing. Children will have a fun-filled morning of breakfast, including raffle prizes, fun activities and a visit from Santa Claus! Photos with Santa are available for purchase. Tickets are $8.50 per child (three to 12 years) and $12.50 per adult. Children 2 and under are free. Space is limited. To register or for more information, call 448-5303, or email connie.semel@sjhsyr. org.

Vegetarians Tend to Be Slimmer Than Meat Eaters D

espite similar caloric intake, vegetarians tend to have lower body mass index (BMI) than non-vegetarians, with vegans being the most slender of all, suggests new research on more than 70,000 Seventhday Adventists by researchers from Loma Linda University Health to be published in the December edition of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In strict vegetarians, low dietary intakes of vitamin B-12 and D, calcium, and n-3 fatty acids, in addition to iron and zinc, have often been of concern. However, in the present study, mean intakes of these nutrients were above minimum requirements in strict vegetarians. A cross-sectional study of the subjects from the Adventist Health Study 2, possibly the largest study involving vegetarians, compared the subjects’ five dietary patterns: non-vegetarians (meat eaters), semi-vegetarians (occasional meat eaters), pesco-vegetarians (people who consume fish), lacto-ovo vegetarians (people who consume dairy products), and vegans (strict

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vegetarians). The results show the average BMI was highest in non-vegetarians and lowest in strict vegetarians, with higher BMI levels for those who consume more animal-derived foods. Nonvegetarians had the most number of people who are classified as obese, with 33.3 percent having BMIs of over 30; semi-vegetarians, 24.2 percent; pesco-vegetarians, 17.9 percent; lactoovo vegetarians, 16.7 percent; and strict vegetarians, 9.4 percent. The subjects had similar energy intake of close to 2,000 kcal per day, except for semi-vegetarians, who had an intake of 1,707 kcal per day. The results were adjusted for age, race, sex, and physical activity. The study tried to determine variations in nutrient intakes between vegetarian and non-vegetarian dietary patterns, in hopes of determining if those differences can contribute to the prevention or development of disease. The findings showed that nutrient intakes varied significantly between dietary patterns. Non-vegetarians have the lowest intake of plant proteins,

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • November 2013

fiber, beta carotene, and magnesium, compared with those following vegetarian dietary patterns; and the highest intakes of fatty acids associated with coronary heart disease. “There was a clear association between higher proportions of obesity, higher BMI averages, and dietary patterns characterized by progressively higher intakes of meat and dairy products,” said the study’s first author, Nico Rizzo, assistant professor at the Department of Nutrition at Loma Linda University School of Public Health. “These marked differences in BMI are of particular interest given that total energy intakes were similar between dietary patterns, and mean macronutri-

ent composition and micronutrient intakes were markedly different between the dietary patterns,”

he said. He said a thorough description of nutrient profiles and the findings will serve as a point of reference for future studies that will look at possible associations between dietary patterns and health outcomes.

Excellus: Do homework before buying insurance on the exchange


ith the launch of the new health exchanges in October, Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield officials say consumers should take the time to research their options. “Consumers should at least do as much research when buying health insurance as they would when buying a major appliance or new vehicle,” said Lynne Scalzo, vice president, business strategy and health care reform, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. Individuals who are uninsured or pay too much for health coverage have until March Scalzo 31, 2014, to enroll in a health plan through New York State of Health ( , an online marketplace that’ll allow them to shop, compare and enroll in a new health plan. “There’s no rush,” Scalzo added. “Individuals have up to six months to compare plans, talk to experts and see which plan best fits their needs.” Here is how consumers can research their options: • Figure out how health insurance works. Watch videos or read up at • Estimate your 2014 income. You’ll need to estimate your household income to determine whether you’re eligible for financial help. • See if you’re eligible for financial

help. Your premium may be reduced if your household income is below 400 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $45,960 for individuals or $94,200 for a family of four. Try the Tax Credit and Premium Estimator at • Determine your health care needs. List your typical health services and costs in a given year. Use the list to help you pick a plan that best fits your situation. If you go to the doctor a lot, for example, you may want a plan with lower copays for doctor visits. • See what health plans work with your doctor. It can be costly to see a doctor, pharmacy or hospital that’s not in a health plan’s “network,” or group of providers who’ve contracted with the insurer. You may need to double check this information with the provider or health insurer. “It won’t do you a lot of good to purchase a less expensive health plan, for example, if the insurer doesn’t contract with your doctor,” Scalzo said. • Consider all costs. Don’t just shop based on a health plan’s premium. Consider other health plan costs, such as deductibles and copays for services. “New York state’s new exchanges mark an entirely new health insurance process for everyone involved,” Scalzo said. “With a little bit of patience and the right homework, more individuals in Upstate New York will gain access to affordable health coverage.”

Upstate to Open Pediatric Dialysis Center


ediatric hemodialysis patients will soon be able to receive treatment in a dedicated pediatric dialysis center. The New York State Department of Health approved a Certificate of Need application for an outpatient pediatric dialysis unit that will be housed on the fifth floor of Upstate University Hospital’s Downtown Campus. “Pediatric patients currently receive care at University Dialysis Center on Genesee Street, which is an adult chronic hemodialysis facility,” said physician Scott Schurman, Upstate associate professor of pediatric nephrology.

“The new center gives us the opportunity to create a pediatric-friendly environment, from the bays where the kids will receive treatment, to the waiting areas that their families will use.” Renovations for the center will include the construction of two bays containing chairs specifically manufactured for dialysis. The bays will be able to accommodate a parent or guardian that accompanies the child and will be designed to provide comfort and distraction for the patient. The new pediatric dialysis center is expected to open in spring 2014.

ONONDAGA, OSWEGO, CAYUGA AND MADISON COUNTIES in good A monthly newspaper published by

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DIABETES AND TECHNOLOGY Thursday, Nov. 14 5 to 8 p.m. Upstate University Hospital, Community Campus 4900 Broad Road Topics include: Diabetes and Phone Apps Update on Insulin Pumps Update on Blood Glucose Meters Seating for this free community event is limited. To register for this seminar please call: 1 -800-464-8668 or 464-8668 Sponsors:

In Good Health is published 12 times a year by Local News, Inc. © 2013 by Local News, Inc. All rights reserved. Mailing Address: P.O. Box 276, Oswego, NY 13126. • Phone: 315-342-1182 • Fax: 315-342-7776. Editor & Publisher: Wagner Dotto • Associate Editor: Lou Sorendo Contributing Writers: Jim Miller, Eva Briggs, M.D., Gwenn Voelckers, Deborah Banikowski, Deborah Sergeant, Anne Palumbo, Melissa Stefanec, Matthew Liptak, Mike Costanza Advertising: Jasmine Maldonado, Marsha K. Preston • Design: Chris Crocker • Office Manager: Laura J. Beckwith No material may be reproduced in whole or in part from this publication without the express written permission of the publisher. The information in this publication is intended to complement—not to take the place of—the recommendations of your health provider. Consult your physician before making major changes in your lifestyle or health care regimen.

November 2013 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Your Doctor

By Mike Costanza

Kenneth A. Cooper First Syracuse surgeon trained to perform singlesite robotic surgery for gall bladder removal talks about the minimally invasive procedure. Q. Why did you become a physician? A. I never wanted to do anything but be a doctor—which is strange, because nobody in my family is in medicine. I’m from a very blue-collar family. I think it’s a calling, similar to being called to any profession. I became an EMT [emergency medical technician] at an early age, and worked on ambulances. It’s a grind—you see people at their worst—but to be able to lift them out of that is extremely rewarding. I was in my late teens, and just loved it. Q. Osteopathic medicine incorporates a more holistic treatment approach than some other medical disciplines. What was it about that particular branch of medicine that drew you to it? A. Osteopathic physcians practice all forms of medicine. I like the philosophy behind it and I like the holistic approach to patient care that osteopathic medicine tends to provide. There is also only one medical school in the state of Maine, where I’m from, and it’s an osteopathic medical school. Q. What prompted you to become a surgeon? A. I knew I wanted to be a surgeon from the get-go. I just always found it interesting and challenging, and one of my early mentors happened to be a general surgeon. When I was in college as an undergraduate, I used to watch him operate. I thought that was the neatest thing, and I had to do that.

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Q. Why did you find it so attractive? A. It’s so definitive. Someone has a bad appendix, you take it out, and they’re better. The patients really are dramatically transformed by doing what we do. It’s not like trying to treat someone’s blood pressure— you wait six months, and see if treatment helps. It’s instant gratification, it’s aggressive, it’s rewarding.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • November 2013

Q. Bariatric surgery, which is intended to help patients lose unhealthy weight, makes up as much as 70 percent of your practice. Why might a patient undertake this type of surgery? A. [Some] people have struggled with obesity for their entire lives. We’re not talking about losing 10 pounds; we’re talking about losing, sometimes, 200 pounds. It takes a huge toll on them medically, physically and socially, and they get to the point where they want to do something to remedy that. The only thing that has been ever been shown to help you lose that much weight…and to keep it off, is the surgical intervention. Q. What techniques do you use to help your patients accomplish those aims? A. It involves limiting the intake of calories as well as manipulating the intestines so that you don’t absorb the calories. Generally speaking, all of the different ways involve some way, shape or form of making the stomach smaller, so you only need a small amount of calories to make it full. In one of the operations, we actually remove about three-quarters of the stomach, and leave you with less stomach. In the other operation, we basically divide the stomach, so all you use is one small portion of it—the rest of it sits there, but doesn’t get used because

the food can’t enter it anymore. We have different stapling devices we use to partition off the stomach. In addition to making the stomach real small, we also reroute the intestines a little bit so some of the food you eat doesn’t get absorbed as it would have otherwise. We take the intestines, and just do a bypass. We take one part of it and kind of sew it to another part of it so the food just skips part of the intestine. We decrease the surface area of which you can absorb food. Q. Surgery to remove the gall bladder makes up another large part of your practice. Why do people need gall bladder surgery? A. Gall bladder disease is extremely common. The gall bladder is an organ that’s just under our liver. It stores bile for digestion. Its normal function is to empty that bile into the intestine when we eat. Gallstones can form within the gall bladder—they actually can plug it and impede its ability to empty and that’s usually what causes the severe pain. People can have acute gall bladder disease that requires surgery in an emergency, and chronic gall bladder disease, where it’s been bad, but not ever bad enough to require an emergency room. The treatment for all of that is the same—there’s really no non-surgical treatment for gall bladder disease. You can live without it [the gall bladder] just fine. Q. Tell us more about single-site robotic surgery for gall bladder removal? A. Normal gall bladder surgery involves up to four or five incisions. To do it with one incision, it’s hard to do, because the human being has to work with the instruments very, very close together. You just don’t have the dexterity and freedom of movement to do it. It’s just too crowded. That doesn’t matter to the Vinci SI System robot. Instead of having the instruments through four separate incisions, you put them through one incision. The computer can control them, even though they’re really close together—whereas human beings just can’t do that. The technology allows me to do things the human brain can’t do. The patients that I’ve done have less pain, because they have one incision instead of four. Because they have less pain and less incisions, they can get back on their feet a little better.

Lifelines Practice: Central New York Surgical Physicians, P.C., 315-470-7364 Education/Residency: Bachelor of Arts, biology, College of the Holy Cross, Worchester, Mass; Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, Biddeford, Ma.; general surgery residency and chief resident, State University of New York-Upstate Medical University, Syracuse. Board certification: Board certified and is diplomate of the American Board of Surgery. Personal: Born in Dover, N.H.; married, two children; enjoys playing sports with his boys, fishing, riding his bicycle, boating and water skiing.

Golisano Children’s Hospital Receives $180,000 from Kohl’s


he Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital has received more than $180,000 from Kohl’s Department Stores to support its autism and related disorders program at the Margaret L. Williams Developmental Evaluation Center. Since 2004, Kohl’s has provided more than $1 million in support of the program at the children’s hospital. “The Kohl’s Autism and Related Disorders Program has reached the hearts and minds of children and adults throughout Central New York,” said Carroll Grant, director, Margaret L. Williams Developmental Evaluation Center. “These programs have helped make our community more welcoming for everyone including, those with

disabilities.” The Kohl’s Autism and Related Disorders Program has reached thousands of people with its outreach services supporting autism awareness and education, which includes its highly successful interactive puppet workshop and autism awareness events. Kohl’s commitment to Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital is made possible through the Kohl’s Cares merchandise program at stores located in Central New York. Through this initiative, Kohl’s sells $5 books and plush toys, and donates 100 percent of the net profit to benefit children’s health programs. Kohl’s has raised more than $231 million through this merchandise program nationwide.

Better Transport Chairs in Oswego


swego Hospital now has something in common with the Disney Company and the St. Regis in Cairo, Egypt; the renowned architect Michael Graves. This past June, the Stryker Company, a maker of medical equipment and the New York City-based architect, unveiled a redesigned transport chair. Oswego Hospital is among the first in Central New York to have purchased one of the new chairs, called a Prime TC. The new design increases the comfort for the patient and caregiver, while improving safety. Graves designed the chair after having been hospitalized in 2003 and realizing that he could improve the overall design. At the time, an unidentified infection spread rapidly through to his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed and thus hospitalized for some time. His redesign is believed to be first major overhaul of the wheelchair’s design since the 1930s. Graves, a postmodernist architect, has designed buildings throughout the globe, including several for the Disney Company, and is known as one of the New York Five.



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Pictured with Oswego Hospital’s new transport chair is volunteer Maurice “Mo” Laws.

Crouse Specialists Now Providing Care at Community Memorial Hospital in Hamilton s part of its affiliation with Community Memorial Hospital in Hamilton, Crouse Hospital is now providing visiting consultative services for patients in Hamilton and other parts of Madison County through a number of its affiliated medical specialists. Medical services currently provided include general surgical consultations; vascular care; gastrointestinal care; and obstetrical and gynecological care. Services are offered on specific days of the week at Community Memorial Hospital by Syracuse- based physicians representing CNY Surgical Physicians; Vascular Care Associates of CNY; Syracuse Gastroenterological Associates of Syracuse; and CNY Women’s Healthcare. “Our partnership with Crouse Hospital enables us to provide the highest level of specialty medical care services to the residents of Hamilton and our surrounding community,” says Community Memorial Hospital CEO Sean Fadale, who notes that other visiting

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specialty services are expected to be added in the near future. Crouse and Community Memorial hospitals formalized an affiliation in 2012 as part of Crouse’s strategic focus on developing a more coordinated and comprehensive network of care delivery. This also included the formation in 2010 of Crouse Medical Practice and its acquisition of Internist Associates of CNY, the area’s largest internal medicine practice. Crouse’s partnership with Community Memorial also includes joint projects focusing on enhancing the IT infrastructure at the Hamilton hospital and establishing a more seamless level of connectivity between the two facilities. Community Memorial is a 36-bed hospital that offers emergency care, primary care and specialty care, with inpatient and outpatient services for Madison County and the surrounding region. It is nationally recognized for its quality care, outstanding orthopedic services and patient safety performance.

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November 2013 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 7

Live Alone & Thrive

By Gwenn Voelckers

Practical tips, advice and hope for those who live alone

Okay to say ‘No thank you’ this Thanksgiving


n addition to counting your many blessings this Thanksgiving, I encourage all my readers who live alone (as well as those who don’t) to say “No thank you” to those things that get in the way of your personal growth and happiness. Say “No thank you” to feeling sorry for yourself. Feeling sorry for yourself only perpetuates the cycle and makes you feel sad and needy. Chances are, you’ve survived a lot this year, and have gained new self-knowledge and growth. Feel good about that. Say “No thank you” to self-imposed isolation. We humans aren’t meant to be alone. We’re social creatures and need each other for companionship, stimulation, and inspiration. Pick up the phone! Say “No thank you” to an unmade bed, kitchen clutter, and any other depressing signs of discontent at home that make you feel lousy about yourself, conjure up bad or sad memories, or zap your energy. Clean up and create a pleasing, harmonious home. Say “No thank you” to languishing on the couch. The more you move your body, the healthier it gets, and the better you can feel, physically and emotionally. The good news? Studies show that

it doesn’t take an enormous amount of physical exercise to achieve healthenhancing results. About 30 minutes a day of walking, swimming, jogging, or biking can have positive health effects. Say “No thank you” to over-spending and to credit card debt. Think twice before you make that purchase: Do you really need it? And, can you really afford it? Since most everyone spends more on credit cards, you just might want to leave home without it. Increased financial security, peace of mind, and a sense of empowerment are the rewards for those who spend within their means. Say “No thank you” to jumping into a relationship to avoid feeling lonely. It puts you at risk. When you’re lonely and desperate, it shows. It makes you vulnerable to the advances of someone with less-than-honorable intentions. Get good at being on your own. A content and confident person is more likely to attract a quality companion.

KIDS Corner U.S. Teens More Vulnerable to Genital Herpes, Study Suggests They may have lower levels of protective antibodies to the virus than in years past


oday’s teens may be at higher risk than ever of contracting genital herpes because they don’t have enough immune system antibodies to shield them against the sexually transmitted virus, a new study suggests. This increase in risk may be the result of fewer teens being exposed in childhood to the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), a common cause of cold sores, researchers reported Oct. 17 in the online edition of the Journal of Infectious Diseases. “HSV-1 now is the predominant herpes strain causing genital infection,” explained physician David Kimberlin, chairman of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, and the author of a Page 8

journal editorial. According to Kimberlin, the new findings suggest that almost one in 10 adolescents who a decade ago would have already acquired HSV-1 and built up some immunity may now encounter HSV-1 when they first become sexually active. That could leave them more susceptible to genital herpes than young people were in the past. “This [also] has potentially significant consequences on neonatal herpes transmission,” which occurs when a baby contracts the herpes virus from a genitally infected mother, Kimberlin said. “We must continue to monitor these changes and watch for shifts in neonatal herpes infection that possibly could result.”

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • November 2013

Say “No thank you” to having a bowl of cereal for dinner, while standing at the sink. As the saying goes, “You’re worth more than that.” When it comes to eating alone at home, treat yourself as you would treat a good friend you are having over for dinner. Creating a pleasant “table for one” is a great opportunity to focus on yourself and to nourish your body and spirit at the same time. Say “No thank you” to negative thinking. Negative self-talk (e.g., “I’ll never meet anyone” or “I hate my weight”) unwittingly becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Become aware of negativity, stop it in its tracks, and replace it with a positive thought. Say “No thank you” to friends who complain all the time and bring you down. Instead of helping themselves or the world, complainers spread gloom and doom. Who needs it? Hang out with people who make you smile, lift you up, support you in your efforts to overcome challenges, and generally make you feel good to be alive.

Say “No thank you” to “letting yourself go.” How you look says a lot about you and how you value yourself. Leave the house disheveled, and you’re likely to be ignored. Spend a few minutes on your appearance, put on a pleasant expression, and watch the world open up. When you care about yourself and your appearance, you radiate vitality. It’s intriguing. And it will draw people and compliments to you. Say “No thank you” to feelings of helplessness. Children are helpless, most adults are not. Learning to master things around the house — from minor repairs to hiring a roofing contractor, from planting a garden to making lasagna from scratch — can be a real source of satisfaction and self-pride. It can also make you an even more interesting, confident, and well-rounded person. Say “No thank you” to that second helping this Thanksgiving. As tempting as that second piece of pumpkin pie might be, you’ll feel better the day after if you pass it up. You feel proud of your self-discipline, enjoy more energy, and have more room for leftovers. Happy “No-Thanks” giving! Gwenn Voelckers is the founder and facilitator of Live Alone and Thrive, empowerment workshops for women held throughout the year in Mendon, New York. For information about her upcoming workshops, call Gwenn at 585-624-7887 or email her at

Body Image Tied to Suicidal Thoughts in Young Teens Young people who reported that they were overweight were more likely to also report having suicidal thoughts.


eeing oneself as overweight or obese may be an important, independent predictor of suicidal thoughts, especially in young girls, reports a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Understanding the link between body image and suicide is critical, said the study’s lead author, Dong-Chul Seo, associate professor at the School of Public Health at Indiana University. “The study’s findings clearly indicate that overweight perception is an independent predictor for suicidal ideation, the same as depression.” Seo and his colleagues analyzed the responses of 6,504 middle school and high school students surveyed from 134 schools in 50 states between 1995 and 2008. Researchers found that suicidal thoughts were higher in those who thought they were overweight com-

pared to those who didn’t see themselves as overweight (18 percent vs. 10.4 percent), even after controlling for such variables as age, ethnicity and depression and independent of actual body mass index (BMI). Furthermore, the effect was stronger in girls at age 10 than in boys. Overall, there was a decrease in suicidal ideation as participants aged between 15 and 21 years old. By the time they were 28 years old, the rate of suicidal thoughts leveled off to 5.8 percent in those who didn’t perceive themselves as overweight and 6.7 percent in those who did. Seo added, “The findings of the study underline the need for development of effective interventions to address body weight perception to reduce suicidal ideation and as well as attempts, especially among female teenagers.”

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onstruction on the new five-story 90,000-sq.-ft. Upstate Cancer Center in Syracuse is proceeding as planned for an expected opening in July. The financial campaign, with close to $14 million already raised, is expected to meet its goal of $15 million as well. “The campaign’s going very well,” said the center’s associate administrator Richard Kilburg. “We’ve got almost to our goal. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re very, very close. The campaign will continue on until we open the cancer center next summer. “As far as construction is concerned, to see the skin of the outside of the building go up has been real exciting. We’re looking at the entire building being totally enclosed by mid-November of this year allowing them to do a lot more work inside the building like the stud work and electrical and the plumbing and things like that.” Kilburg said the new center is a necessity because more space is needed for Upstate to serve its patients and that need is only expected to grow, he said. With baby boomers entering prime cancer-risk age, the incidents of the disease are projected to grow by 30 percent over the next 10 years, Kilburg said. The hospital’s cancer programs now see 2,000 new adult patients each year and 60 to 100 pediatric patients. “Based on national statistics they’re talking about it looks like about 3 to 5 percent growth in cancer incidents per year for the next ten years,” Kilburg said. Other than sheer space, the hospital expects the center will offer more advantages to patients. For one thing, in the way it treats them, emphasizing a more holistic approach. Not only will the three Kilburg traditional regimen of cancer treatment be available—surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation oncology—but the center will offer support groups, spiritual counseling, financial counseling and even a small boutique for cancer-related items like wigs or scarves. Previously such services, if they had them, were scattered around the hospital. “Having them all under one roof will make it much more, what we call shopping so to speak,” Kilburg said. There will be space for multidisciplinary care on the third floor. In multidisciplinary care doctors from

surgery, chemotherapy and radiation oncology will confer as to the best way to proceed with treatment. “This is a little different than what you would normally see in the community, which would be for the patient to go see a surgeon and then another appointment the next week to go see the radiation oncologist and the next week to go see the medical oncologist leaving the patient to have some difficult decisions as to what kind of care they might want,” Kilburg said. And doctors will have some groundbreaking new equipment to treat their patients with. Upstate will be only the third facility in the country to have a VERO linear accelerator. “This’s the next best generation in how you treat cancer patients with radiation so it’s real exciting for us to have the opportunity to do this and implement this machine at our cancer center,” Kilburg said. “You can actually treat from any angle whatsoever so that radiation can be much more precise to the exact shape of the tumor.” Not only will equipment be stateof-the-art but the design of the building itself was created to offer a more healing environment. Four-season, rooftop healing gardens will be open to patients and also visible to many, such as those receiving chemotherapy in the 27 private infusion areas. Interiors are designed to be flooded with natural light, too. “Our people who are getting infusions, chemotherapy treatment, will actually be able to look out of their chemotherapy infusion area onto the healing garden,” Kilburg said. “It provides a much more relaxed environment. It’s more of a healing environment, which is kind of the tone and theme of what we are trying to provide in the cancer center.” Kilburg said he is excited about the new center. It’s opening will be a step into the future of cancer treatment in Central New York, he said. “I think what we will be able to offer [is] what we can’t offer now, No. 1,” he said. “No. 2 is the opportunity to bring all the services that we have that are scattered throughout this institution in under one roof. We can get so much more convenient for the patients. Basically when it’s all said and done we’ll be able to offer patients services that they really need for their direct patient care as well as going forward into the future.” For more information on the Upstate Cancer Center go to www.upstate. edu/cancercenter.

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My Turn

By Eva Briggs

Oh, Winter… Here is a list of products that will make your winter safer


uch as I dread it, winter is on the way. One way to make it more palatable is to be prepared. With that in mind I’d like to review some products that can help in daily use or in a pinch. About 15 years ago I slipped on an icy sidewalk and fracture-dislocated my ankle, an experience that I hope never to repeat. So I’ve experimented over the years with products designed to improve traction. For long walks try the Katoohla Microspikes (kahtoola. com/product/microspikes/). These mini-crampons slip over your boots and dig their little pointy spikes into icy surfaces. They’re fairly easy to get on and off, and long lasting. Although expensive, they will last through several winters and are far cheaper than a visit to the emergency room and lost wages. I tried a similar but less expensive product Yaktrax ( I didn’t like it as well. They’re trickier to put on and they don’t last an entire season if you are an avid walker. Worst of all, when they give out, the rubber snaps and shoots one of the traction

springs out in such a manner as to trip the wearer into falling flat on his face. Since there’s no warning, it’s scarier than slipping on ice. I experienced this twice before discovering the Katoohla product. Several years ago, while walking through Bon-Ton, I saw a traction product in their bargain pile for $5. Alas I don’t recall the brand name, but they look similar to the Spare Spikes or Alta-Grips products sold by the Winter Walking Company (winterwalking. com/all-products.php). They worked quite well though they wore out by the end of the winter. I also own a pair of Neos overshoes ( Pages/default.aspx). They’re clunky and not comfortable for long walks, but they fit right over my work shoes and get me safely through the parking lot with dry feet. Cold toes and fingers are another winter hazard. Proper mittens and and socks are essential, but for an added boost, try a chemical warming product like Toasti-toes ( You can

find them and almost any store that sells outdoor gear. Even though they come sealed in a package, they don’t work so well when they are not fresh. Throw last year’s warmers away and buy new ones for the season. Speaking from experience, if using the adhesive model, stick them to your socks not to your shoe. They’re fairly tough to peel out of your boots at the end of a full day outdoors, but easily removed from socks. At a recent search and rescue-training day, I learned that similar technology now comes in a larger size, with self-warming blankets and vests. I found the cheapest price at Campsaver ( It’s something that can fit in your car or daypack for an emergency, and the expiration dates of the ones passed around at our training day were several years in the future. You can even buy self-heating hot cocoa! Be aware that the reviews say that about one third of the cans are duds; the people at the training day who have tried them say that was their experience too. But in a pinch they were palatable. It seems like a product you could keep in your car just in case you went off the road in a blizzard. The product also comes in several soup flavors and can be ordered through Walmart ( Here are suggestions for items to include in a compact survival kit for hiking, cross-country skiing, or snowmobiling. A tiny Esbit stove (www.

plus a metal mug and some packets of hot cocoa, tea or instant coffee will provide a hot beverage in a pinch. Add a pair of contactor grade 55-gallon trash bags. With an opening for your face the bag can serve as an instant raincoat/ shelter. Check out this website for how to use the trash bag as survival gear: Throw in waterproof matches or other fire starter, candles or other tinder, some paracord, a signal mirror, and a whistle. And don’t forget to bring along a knife or multi-tool and a flashlight or headlamp. Take the batteries out of your light so that it won’t accidently turn on and use up the batteries before you need it. If you are going hiking — winter or not — be sure to tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. Learn to read a topographic map and bring one with you. And if you do get lost, stay put. As the National Association of Search and Rescue puts it, “Hug A Tree.” Staying in one place prevents you from using up energy and increases your chances of being found.

Eva Briggs is a medical doctor who works at two urgent care centers (Central Square and Fulton) operated by Oswego Health.

Syracuse’s VA Medical Center: 60 Years and Going Strong By Matthew Liptak


he Veterans Administration Medical Center in Syracuse has cared for more than 1.5 million veterans since opening its doors in 1953. The 116-bed center this year is observing its 60th year of service. “Today, more than 1,500 individual employees demonstrate, every day, their commitment to our mission to provide the best care and services possible for 44,000 veterans we serve,” said physician William Marx, the center’s chief of staff. “The most important commitment we make as caregivers for our veterans has not changed at all over the years. We are focused on care for our newest veterans from the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the recent conflicts have increased the number of patients we see with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), the basic patient-centered approach to providing care has remained the same.” Care for PTSD and TBI have been problematic, Marx said. Post traumatic stress disorder has been poorly recognized in all the wars America has fought. It was once called shell shock or battle fatigue, but the condition and its aftermath remain the same. Today treatment for PTSD does exist though in the form of psychotherapy and medication. Treatment for TBI has improved, Marx said. As it has become more Page 10

readily recognized rehabilitation for patients has been increased. “The concern with these diagnoses is the small amount of research data on the life of the veterans does not allow the clinician to anticipate all the needs of the patient,” Marx said. While there is room for improvement, much has been accomplished recently to add to the services provided to veterans at the center. In June the center completed what Marx called one of the most significant construction projects in its history. A $90 million, six-floor addition housing a 30-bed regional spinal cord injury/ disorder center was built. The addition includes a therapeutic pool, expanded outpatient surgical services, dialysis and infusion program and seven new operating rooms. On June 14, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki was the keynote speaker at the new addition’s opening. The secretary met with staff, patients and their family members. Approximately 250 people attended. In the future a main focus will be on care of veterans in rural areas who may have trouble traveling to the center, Marx said. There are already seven community based outpatient clinics headed by the center. They are located in Massena, Watertown, Auburn, Rome, Oswego, Binghamton and Freeville. The center also leases space for two other locations in Syracuse, the

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • November 2013

New therapy room at the VA is part of a $90 million, six-floor addition housing a 30-bed regional spinal cord injury/disorder center. Community Care Center and the new Behavioral Health Outpatient Center. Marx said the emphasis on telemedicine will be increased as the center reaches out to more rural veterans. “Specialty care can now be provided electronically improving access and reducing the need for veterans to travel,”he said. The center is partnered with SUNY Upstate Medical University as a teaching facility. Marx said Syracuse’s VA Medical Center is a top-notch facility with high evaluations. “It is critical that we continue to reach out to all veterans, from all eras, to continue to provide improvements that foster a patient-centered care philosophy and meets and exceeds patient expectations,” he said. “We are doing this now by exceeding national averages on overall inpatient and outpatient centered care quality and satisfaction measures and meeting national composite scoring metrics for safe

and effective clinical care. The overall care at the VA is excellent. Our patient satisfaction scores are among the best in the VA system of some 153 medical centers.” The Syracuse VA Medical Center is going strong serving tens of thousands of veterans who have served the country. It has kept up with the times by modernizing and expanding its services. Marx is just one of over 60,000 employees who have worked for the center in 60 years. He may speak for most of them, though, when he described a good day at work. “A good day is when every veteran who walks through the door at any one of our facilities, or interacts with our staff by message or phone call, is satisfied that they received the finest care possible delivered with respect and compassion,” he said. For more information on the Syracuse VA Medical Center go to www. or call 800-792-4334.

November 2013 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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By Anne Palumbo

The skinny on healthy eating

Get a Boost from Butternut Squash


or years, I avoided winter squash. Acorn, spaghetti, pumpkin, butternut: you name it and I waltzed right past it at the market. The hard skins intimidated me. How could my dull knives ever get through that brickand-mortar exterior? Thankfully, I sharpened my knives as well as my wits about winter squash: all are simply too delicious and nutritious to ignore. But I admit to having a soft spot for butternut squash because it’s often available skinned, cubed and ready to cook. Go convenience! Convenience notwithstanding, I also squeeze a lot of this particular squash into my diet because it’s loaded with vitamins and serves up a good dose of heart-healthy fiber. Let’s start with butternut’s most noteworthy health perk: its super high concentration of beta-carotene, an orange pigment that your body automatically converts to vitamin A. A workhorse vitamin that’s essential for good health, vitamin A is needed for normal bone growth, healthy skin, eyesight, and proper tooth development. One cup of cubed,

cooked butternut squash delivers over 400 percent of your daily needs. What’s more, butternut squash is an antioxidant superstar, boasting good amounts of three top antioxidants: beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Antioxidants protect and repair cells from damage caused by free radicals — damage that many experts believe plays a roll in several chronic diseases, including atherosclerosis, cancer, heart disease, and arthritis. Worried about colds or the flu? The immune-boosting benefits of antioxidants may be your ticket to fewer aches, pains and achoos this season. Bring on the seconds, right? Like most vegetables, butternut squash scores low in calories (around 80 per cubed cup), fat, cholesterol and sodium. Also good: It’s a pretty decent

source of potassium, which helps to control blood pressure, and manganese, which promotes healthy bones.

Helpful tips Select squash that is firm, heavy for its size and has a dull, hard rind. Smooth, shiny skin suggests that the squash is not ripe; soft rinds may indicate that the squash is watery and tasteless. Avoid squash with any cracks or signs of decay. Butternut squash will keep for about a month in a cool, dark place: do not refrigerate whole butternut squash. Peeled, cut squash should be stored tightly covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Butternut Squash Casserole with Gorgonzola & Sage 2 packages of peeled butternut squash, cut into ¾-inch dice 2 teaspoons olive oil ½ red onion, peeled and thinly sliced 1 clove garlic, minced 1 cup grated, fat-reduced mozzarella cheese ½ cup fat-free Half & Half (or 2% milk) 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon dried sage (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage) 1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese 4 strips uncured bacon (optional) 1 teaspoon oil ½ cup breadcrumbs 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion and garlic to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl. Add squash, mozzarella, Half & Half, salt, pepper and sage. Toss gently to combine. Spoon squash into a 9x13-inch baking dish lightly coated with butter or oil. Cook bacon in microwave for 5 minutes. Let cool, then break into small pieces. While bacon is cooking, heat 1 teaspoon oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add breadcrumbs and walnuts and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring until crumbs turn golden. Remove from heat. Mix in bacon pieces. Sprinkle crumbled gorgonzola and then breadcrumb mixture evenly over squash mixture. Bake until the squash is tender and the topping is browned, about 40 minutes. Anne Palumbo is a lifestyle columnist, food guru, and seasoned cook, who has perfected the art of preparing nutritious, calorie-conscious dishes. She is hungry for your questions and comments about SmartBites, so be in touch with Anne at

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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • November 2013

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Thanksgiving Dinner and Dietary Needs

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Nowadays it’s pretty tough to figure out alternatives to fit your guests’ dietary restrictions By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


ou didn’t know your niece is now vegan. Or that your son’s new girlfriend is allergic to tree nuts. Or that your new sisterin-law eats only gluten-free. But now that you’re all seated at the table, ready to eat Thanksgiving dinner, it’s pretty tough to figure out alternative foods to fit your guests’ dietary restrictions. Instead of that unfortunate scenario, it’s much easier to plan ahead, even if you don’t know what restrictions guests may bring to the table. Of course, ideally, your guests will let you know in advance if they have special dietary needs. “If family members or friends are bringing a guest, ask them to inquire about any food allergies in advance,” said Susan Branning, registered dietitian and manager of clinical nutrition at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center. “Most people with food allergies are more than willing to share what foods they can and cannot eat when going to someone else’s home for a meal, and most appreciate the inquiry. Eight allergens account for 90 percent of all food allergy reactions. They are peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. Gluten sensitivity or celiac disease is another common dietary concern. For many reasons, some people choose to abstain from animal-sourced food. If you’re unfamiliar with these and other dietary restrictions — and which of your guests may have them — a few meal strategies can help you feed everyone. Guests with special dietary needs may be willing to bring a dish to share or make some other arrangements with you. Familiarize yourself with some common holiday foods that are likely to include common allergens. These can include dressing, which may be made with bread cubes, egg, and nuts. Or gravy thickened with flour or creamed vegetables that contain milk. Maureen Franklin, registered dietitian at Upstate University Hospital Community Campus, advises thoughtful hosts to leave salt and pepper, butter, and other seasonings off so guests can choose whether or not they want them.

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“The least processing the better, and the more your meal is plant-based the more options you can offer,” she said. “It can also be fun to introduce new choices to your family and friends.” The more complex dishes you create, such as nuts in stuffing or cream sauces on vegetables, the greater the chance that someone in the group can’t eat it. “Simplicity is easiest,” said Karen Scanlon, nutrition and wellness counselor consulting with clients throughout Central New York. “Things like sauté greens with beans and olive oil, salt and pepper would work for most people. The more vegetable-heavy the meal is, the better you’ll be.” Offer some plain Jane options of fresh fruit salad, tossed salad and raw vegetables in addition to fancy dishes. These dressed-down dishes are healthful and easy to prepare, too. Label dishes that contain “surprise” ingredients, like pecans in the stuffing. Many prepared foods contain allergens and irritants that you wouldn’t consider, such as the wheat flour used as a thickening agent in some brands of salad dressing, ice cream, and marshmallows. If possible, serve condiments, seasonings and toppings on the side so people can add what they want. Don’t worry about fixing separate, low-sugar desserts for diabetics. Most may have some if they manage the portion size.

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Nurses want better insurance coverage for ostomy supplies For some, the out-of-pocket costs can exceed $2,500 annually By Aaron Gifford


inda Pasto has worked with every type of ostomy patient imaginable. There’s the elderly man recovering from cancer who worries about getting used to a new system at such an old age when his hands are unsteady and his digestive patterns are unpredictable. There’s a 20-year-old male college student who is very uncomfortable about using the reusable bathroom bags for an extended period after surgery. There’s a 46-year-old woman who had her bowels and bladder removed at the age of 3, and has never known any other way. And then there is Pasto herself, a veteran who had her colon removed eight years ago at the age of 50 following a bout with Crohn’s disease, which affects the gastrointestinal tract. As a nursing instructor at TompkinsCortland Community College, Pasto teaches future medical providers how to help patients with ostomy supplies. She also educates new ostomy patients on a volunteer basis. “Since I live it,” she said, “I have a dual role.” In her own experience and dealings with ostomy patients, Pasto is also familiar with the costs for ostomy supplies and the hassles that often come with getting those items covered by insurance. In her case, there was a recent instance where she spent two hours on the phone straightening out a mistake by her insurance companies. But for others, the coverage is limited. For some, the out-of-pocket costs can exceed $2,500 annually. Pasto has teamed up with Heidi Cross, an ostomy nurse at Upstate Medical University Hospital in Syracuse, to lobby for change. Essentially, they want the state’s current insurance bill amended to mandate coverage for ostomy supplies. “For the vast majority of people, insurance does provide reimbursement after the co-pays and deductibles,’” Cross said. “Medicaid is limited.

Page 14

Sometimes the problems [with insurance companies] happen after the patient leaves the hospital and needs to get supplies later on. There are some who fall through the cracks. Even if it’s $50 or $75 a month, it may come to having to choose between this and food.” Pasto said she knows of a patient in his 80s who prefers to use a larger ostomy pouch at night. Medicare will only pay for two per month, so the man’s wife washes each one every other day instead of paying for additional supplies with their own money. They live on a fixed income. “That’s just one small example,” Pasto said. “If it’s $10 a bag, that’s a lot if you are putting food on the table and buying your kids school supplies.” Cross and Pasto took up this cause about two years ago. Since then, they have travelled to Albany with other nurses and Colin Cooke of the United Ostomy Associations of America to meet with lawmakers who will introduce legislation on the insurance bill amendment. They have also circulated petitions online and in person. Pasto collected 300 signatures at a recent Syracuse University football game in the Carrier Dome. About 750,000 people in the United States use ostomy devices, according to the United Ostomy Associations of America. Cross said there are three or four major brands of ostomy supplies, and many insurance companies are particular about which brand they’ll cover. Although the health insurance industry will see major changes with the passage of Obamacare, it’s too soon to say how and whether the coverage of ostomy supplies will be funded under the national legislation. “We couldn’t get a definitive yes with how it will be covered,” Cross said. “There may be some regional variations.” Under the action plan drafted by Cross and Pasto, area residents have

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • November 2013

Pushing for better ostomy supply health coverage are nurses Linda Pasto, nursing instructor at Tompkins-Cortland Community College (left) and Heidi Cross, an ostomy nurse at Upstate Medical University Hospital in Syracuse. They are working with Sen. David Valesky (D-Oneida), center, and Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli (D-Syracuse) to amend the Insurance Bill to mandate coverage for ostomy supplies. been asked to contact their local state lawmakers to support this cause. Sen. David Valesky (D-Oneida) and Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli (D-Syracuse) are co-sponsoring a bill that is scheduled to be mulled over by legislators in January. Cross said it will be a difficult task to get the proposal through the Assembly and Senate Insurance committees. “The insurance industry hates a mandate,” she said. “But we feel this is important enough.” There is also a link on the United Ostomy Associations of America website to support the legislation. The website is a major resource for ostomy patients across the country, covering everything from basic questions and answers for new ostomy patients, to diet and nutrition tips, to support group links, to detailed explanations of the different surgical procedures that might result in the required use of ostomy pouches. Part of the grassroots effort for supporting this legislation involved

educating people about ostomy — the various medical conditions, how the pouches and other supplies are used, and how an ostomy patient can expect to live a normal life even if they rely on such devices. “People think it’s devastating,” Cross said. “But it’s not. Life goes on. You can’t see the pouches, there’s no odor. You may have a neighbor down the road who has used them for years and you would never know it.” Pasto had lost 155 pounds during her illness but now enjoys an active lifestyle that includes kayaking, snorkeling and travelling internationally. She said the availability of quality ostomy supplies has played a key role in her recovery and her ability to now live life to the fullest. Doctors have told her that she’s shining example of why New York’s Insurance Bill should be amended. “My doctor says it’s like giving diabetic insulin but no syringe,” Pasto said. “Nobody had called attention to it in the past, so it’s just been allowed to slide.”


Neuropathy & Pain Expert

By Melissa Stefanec


The Princess Phenomenon


At 27 months old, my daughter already wants princess gear. So what is a feminist mom to do?


tried. Heaven knows I tried. At the risk of being labeled a weirdo and an over-the-top feminist, I took measures. I disseminated prudent, verbal memos and quietly returned the paraphernalia that found its way into my home. I avoided it on television and steered clear of the movies. There was no crown-decorated clothing. Come to think of it, I don’t even think I’ve used the P-word in my daughter’s presence. There really isn’t a need. It’s archaic, unnecessary and unrealistic. So you can imagine my surprise when that word was bellowed from her little pouty face as I shopped for cleaning supplies at a local store. It was crystal clear and unmistakable. “Princess,” she yelped. I confusedly looked at some furniture polish and asked, “What was that dear?” “Princess,” she replied with demanding authority. Stunned, I looked around. Did Proctor & Gamble rebrand a cleaning product with the dreaded franchise? Then I looked higher. There were some products being stored on the top shelf. One of them was a small table with a certain princess franchise plastered across the front. I had been warned by moms of other little girls. They all said it would happen, no matter how hard I tried to shut it out. At 27 months old, Stella wanted princess gear. So what is a feminist mom to do? True feminists should embrace any type of woman. Stella should be free to be who she wants to be. Here’s my problem: she can’t really reason on her own yet. I am still guiding many of her actions. She looks to me for so many of her needs, and I can’t bring myself to guide her into the world of princesses. So why should a mother even worry about her little girl idolizing princesses? One could argue that letting girls dress up and focus on beauty is something mothers do almost every day. This is absolutely true, but that isn’t where this mom’s beef lies. My whole problem with the princess ideal is that these franchised princesses don’t do anything. Real, productive women do things. They have jobs, families, education, causes or hobbies. They strive to make the world a better place.

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Here is why I don’t want to steer my daughter toward a culture that encourages beauty and idleness before hard work and heart. Women have not achieved equality, and the princess road isn’t going to take us there. Women hold about 18 percent of seats in the U.S. Congress. About 17 percent of U.S. cities, with populations of more than 30,000, have women mayors. Among the Fortune 500 companies, only 21 have female CEOs; they make, on average, 17 percent less than their male counterparts. In 2012, full-time employed women earned just 80.9 percent of the salaries their male counterparts did. That is over a 1 percent drop from 2011. This world needs a generation of women who will work, play and love their hearts out. They will need to be ambitious, strong, smart, cunning and unabashedly individual. Most importantly, they will need to be actively kind. Many of them will find love with a partner, but unlike a stereotypical princess, that won’t be the only focus of their lives. The princess franchise teaches girls that if you are beautiful, your beauty will persevere and bring a charming man into your life. Keep being pretty, and all the evils of the world will be countered by a good-looking man. That story isn’t going to hold up in real life. Trying to live that story would be vastly disappointing. This mom sees a lot of harm in letting her daughter embrace such flimsy ideals. Playing dress up may not mentally damage someone, but being absorbed by a selfish, shallow culture certainly will. I will try to teach my daughter about character and its value. Even if you argue the princess culture isn’t hurting anything, I don’t see how one could soundly argue that it’s helping anything either. I plan to keep telling my daughter that she is strong, kind, brave, smart and awesome. I will encourage her to try, cope with failure, be kind and preserve. I will raise her to understand that her inner beauty defines her. The princess culture doesn’t teach any of that. There is only one thing I want her to take away from that culture is this – it is all right to look gorgeous while making your mark on the world. November 2013 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 15

NATIONAL HOSPICE MONTH Women, More Than Men, Play Crucial Role as Caregivers Many of them, like Barbara Raum, of Liverpool, have to juggle work, caregiving and family obligations By Aaron Gifford


early one in three members of the United States adult population, or 66 million people, is caring for someone who is ill, disabled or elderly. The majorities of those caregivers are female, and most are likely over the age of 45. And about one third of those caregivers are taking care of two or more people. Consider, for example, the middle-aged woman who is responsible for her school aged children while also serving as the primary caregiver for a terminally ill spouse or parent. With those statistics, which were recently updated and publicized by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP, Central New York Hospice has put forth a two-pronged challenge for area residents: Please recognize and appreciate the role that an increasing number of woman caregivers play in addition to their roles as mother or grandmother, daughter, spouse and employee. And while taking some time to ponder end-of-life care for a loved one, please consider completing health care proxies and advance directives. Pre-planning is one of the ways to reduce stress taken on when a loved one becomes terminally ill, and having a plan in place often helps patients live longer while also allowing caregivers to remain focused, explained Bill Pfohl, Central New York Hospice communications officer. “Preparation is everything,” he said. “We as Americans are planners. Many of us started scoping out colleges when we enter high school. A year’s worth of planning most likely went into the one day wedding celebration.

Bill Pfohl, hospice communications officer. “Often people say, we wish we would have come to you earlier,” he says regarding some hospice patients. Page 16

And I must have visited 150 homes before I bought my first one. We have to start planning for the end. Plans are not set in stone and can change if needed. But having a plan will make the end time better than a mass scramble to find resources when we should be making the best of the time we have left.” Hospice, which is largely made up of volunteers, provides end-of-life services for the terminally ill. It also serves loved ones of those with short life expectancies by providing grief counseling. At any given time, the local hospice organization serves about 150 patients and families. As America ages, the number of families that will reach out to hospice is expected to increase dramatically in the coming years. Baby boomers are living longer and living healthier, but as age 70 “becomes the new 50,” people certainly don’t want to think about their last days, Pfohl said. Hospice is challenging families to talk about endof-life care well ahead of time. “Often people say, we wish we would have come to you earlier,” Pfohl said. “Eighty percent of patients want to die in their own home. Most don’t. Attitudes are changing slowly.” While a terminally ill person may rely on several different people and organizations for end-of-life care, hospice plays a key role in providing breaks for the primary caregiver, which is often the spouse, child or parent of the patient. In recognizing the disproportionate number of women who serve in that role, the National Alliance for Caregiving also reports that: · Sixty-nine percent of caregivers, who are still employed reporting having to rearrange their work schedule, decrease their hours or take an unpaid leave as a means to meet their responsibilities for providing the necessary care for a relative or friend. · Five percent of caregivers have been forced to turn down a promotion, while 4 percent have chosen early retirement and 6 percent gave up working entirely. Those figures are not specific to caring for someone with dementia, which is even more challenging and demanding on a caregiver’s time. Barbara Raum, of Liverpool, has endured the challenges of balancing work with caregiving and sacrificing her career to be there for a loved one during their final days. Her husband, Ed, died of lung cancer 10 years ago. Then she cared for her mother, Mary Buckley, who struggled with dementia and passed away about four years ago at the age of 84. To care for Ed, Raum scaled back her hours as a retail manager to parttime before eventually quitting providing full-time care at their home. She was also raising a teen-age daughter at the time. She eventually reached out to

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • November 2013

Barbara Raum of Liverpool cared for her husband, Ed, who died of lung cancer 10 years ago. Then she cared for her mother, Mary Buckley, who struggled with dementia and passed away about four years ago. She is shown during the wedding of her daughter, Tricia, four months before her mom died at the age 84. Raum is a volunteer at Central New York Hospice. Women make up the majority when it comes to volunteering. hospice, which helped out during Ed’s final three weeks. “My advice to anyone [caring for a terminally ill loved one] is to reach out to family and friends as well as an organization like hospice,” Raum said. “It’s exhausting. As hard as it is to call hospice — because you know what that means — it does provide relief.” “I would have a relative come over and sit with them, so I could go to Onondaga Lake and walk for an hour. Or even if it was just to sit with the both of us. Just to have that presence — you know you’re not going through this alone.” Raum went back to work after Ed died, and also began volunteering for hospice because the organization made such a big impression on her. When her father died suddenly and her ailing mother needed care, Raum was well prepared for the situation. Once again, caring for a loved one became

a full-time job. After her mother died, Raum went back to work — this time at hospice, where she continues to serve as a part-time receptionist. “I have a lot of friends who are caring for a parent, who are trying to juggle jobs and who have had to move into their parent’s house in order to care for them [parent],” Raum said, adding that she has applied her experience from being in a similar situation to help others. While hospice can be a huge help to caregivers and their families, Raum believes non-profit agencies need to closely work with lawmakers to design financial incentives for people who quit their jobs or scale back their working hours to care for terminally ill loved ones in their own homes. “Why isn’t there some kind of funding to help people out?” she said. “We’re keeping them out of the nursing homes and saving the system money.”

Golden Years Apps Can Boost Seniors’ Health By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


f you’re a senior who enjoys a tablet or smart phone and staying healthy, plenty of apps have been developed to help you maintain good health. “A lot more older people are coming in with smart phones or are at least willing to try one,” said Eve Powle, an associate with Cellular Connection in Fulton. “They’re convenient. It’s a very useful multi-tool.” She likes Walkroid (free, for Android), which functions as a pedometer. “It measures how Powle far you travel and how many calories you burned,” Powle said. Many apps focus on strenuous exercise, but Workout Assistive Light (free, for Android) is a lower-impact version “which has simpler exercises that aren’t as intense,” Powle said. Al Fasoldt, technology writer for The Post Standard in Syracuse, often presents programs on how to use iPhone/iPad and Android apps. “I emphasize the value of actually doing the legwork yourself, not relying on someone else’s opinion,” Fasoldt said. “It’s easy. Just browse the Apple and Android app stores. Both

have nearly a million apps, and about 400,000 on each kind are free. Both app stores make searching easy.” Fasoldt does have a few suggestions though. For physical fitness, he offered Fitness Builder (free for iPhone, iPad and Android), Nike Fitness Club (free for iPhone and iPad), Daily Leg Workout (free for iPhone, iPad and Android), and It’s UR Fitness ($1.99 for iPhone and iPad), which is a seniorspecific app. For mental fitness, try Matchup: Exercise Your Memory (free for iPhone, iPad and Android), Memory Brain Trainer And Matchup (free for iPhone, iPad and Android). Fasoldt To help learn about your health, Fasoldt suggested WebMD (free for iPhone, iPad and Android), WebMD Pain Coach (free for Android), and Mayo Clinic Health Manager (free for Android) Ask Mayo Expert (free for iPhones and iPads) and GetMed: Search Medicines (free for Android). If you need more motivation to get moving, try FitnessBuilder (free for iPhone, iPad and Android), which can help you develop a fitness routine from

among 200 available workouts. Pocket Yoga ($2.99 for iPhone, iPad and Android) can teach you proper body positioning for numerous levels of yoga so you can practice wherever you are. Stretch Exercises (free for Android) can help you stay limber. Runkeeper (free for iPhone, iPad and Android) isn’t just for those fleet of feet. Anyone walking, hiking, biking or inline skating will appreciate the GPSenable app that will record your speed and route via the Runkeeper website. My Fitness Pal (free for iPhone, iPad and Android) tracks not only output but input. The digital food and activity record can also synch with Fitbit Aris Smart Scale and the Withings Wi-Fi Body Scale to measure your body mass index. The BMI has long been touted as a more accurate measurement of health than weight alone. It you want to improve your diet, Diet Assistant (free, Android) offers “eating programs to use to maintain health or reach a certain goal in losing weight and eating healthier,” Powle said. To discover how to treat minor maladies at home, Powle turns to Home Remedies (free, for Android). “It gives information if you have acid reflux, back pain, and all kinds of simple

issues,” Powle said. “They say to do things like using ginger and honey if you have a common cold. Apps such as RxMindMe Prescription (free for iPhone, iPod) and Dosecast (free for Android) can help people with complicated medication regimens stay on track and also orchestrate the pill routines of the whole family—-including pets. These apps may be programmed down to the hour and include photos of medication to help keep pills sorted.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 17

Golden Years Lifeline: Saving Lives in CNY for 30 Years The emergency communication device has come a long way during past 30 years, but officials say more seniors should take advantage of program By Aaron Gifford


uch has changed since Lifeline debuted in Central New York 30 years ago. In 1983, the console for the emergency communication device was about 8 ½ by 11 inches in diameter and between 4 and 6 inches thick. It was meant for sitting on a table and interfaced with a large belt clip worn by the user. The clip, which was not waterproof, was about the size and weight of a garage door opener. The settings were rather complicated. Adjustments were usually made by Lifeline personnel, and users often stayed away from the console for fear that if they touched something it would no longer work. And when the Lifeline button was pressed, users had no idea if they were really reaching the monitoring center because the devices were not equipped for twoway communication. “The technology has made leaps and bounds since the early 80s,” said Beverly LawLawton ton, executive director of the Lifeline program of Franciscan Companies (a member of St. Joseph’s Hospital Health center), where she has worked for 16 years now. “The devices are smaller, more streamlined, more powerful, more attractive.” “You can wear it [button-activated device] around your neck,” Lawton added. “It weighs about a quarter of an ounce — maybe less than a wrist watch. And it’s waterproof. There’s no reason you’d ever take it off.” In addition, the monitor covers a 300-foot radius, which is about the size of a football field, providing clients coverage from any part of their home and most likely anywhere in their front

or back yard. The Franciscan Companies celebrated Lifeline’s 30th anniversary on Oct. 2 with an open house at its office on 7246 Janus Park Drive, Liverpool. Clients and caregivers discussed their experiences with the device. In addition to size, weight and durability, probably the most notable improvement of the device over the past three decades is its ability to provide two-way communication. Lawton said this has allowed Lifeline to dispatch the right personnel based on the emergency. If the customer complains about a sound outside their home, the police may be called. If there’s chest pain, then an ambulance will be sent. If the customer has fallen and can’t get up, they might prefer the help of a relative or neighbor instead of emergency respondents. “If the button is pushed and there’s no communication, then we would respond with emergency services,” Lawton said. “But when we are able to have that conversation with them [customer], it allows us to be aware of our resources.” Lifeline currently serves about 1,620 people in a 16-county area that stretches from the North Country, to the Finger Lakes, to the Southern tier, to the Mohawk Valley. There are also 80 clients enrolled in the medication dispenser service. The basic Lifeline service costs $38 a month. And while Lifeline has served between 20,000 and 40,000 residents in the Central New York region since its 1983 inception, Lawton acknowledged that only a small fraction of the region’s aging population is enrolled in the program. The potential to grow the business is huge, but in some circles there is still a stigma attached to it. “One thing is people don’t think of it until after there’s an emergency,”

The first pieces of equipment offered by Lifeline.

Page 18

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • November 2013

Santa Savoca, wearing her Lifeline pendant, and her daughter Gina Heitzman. Lawton said. “Another thing is people see it as the start of the aging process. But they should think of it as something that will help you stay independent.” Lawton added that, nationally, one in three people over the age of 60 will be injured by falling this year, and after the first fall there is a 30 percent chance of another fall later on. Sandy Rosinsky, 81, of Liverpool, enrolled in the Lifeline program 15 years ago after her husband died. Her children lived out of town so she needed the peace of mind that help would arrive quickly if she fell or got sick. She maintains an active lifestyle where she gets up early and drives to the gym; she doesn’t feel she has to “take it easy” out of fear that she is more susceptible to falls or injuries as an older adult. “It’s like having a person in the house with me,” Rosinsky said. And yet, she is careful to explain that sense of security in other terms when talking to her peers. Many people Rosinsky’s age, she said, are reluctant to enroll in the program because of privacy concerns. “I think the thing people need to know is, it’s private. You can get a hold of someone if you need to, but it not like they’re listening in on you,” Rosinsky said. Cheryl Pardoe, 59, enrolled her mother, 87-year-old Lydia Bianchi, several years ago; this has allowed Cheryl and her sister the assurance that their mother is safe when they can’t be

nearby. And Pardoe herself enrolled in the medication dispenser program a few years ago after a brain injury. She had troubles taking the right dose of medications, was forgetting things and often felt foggy. She initially resisted her doctor’s order to enroll in the program. “I couldn’t drive and I had to have a nurse’s aide come in,” Pardoe said. “At first, I didn’t want it. Once I got it, what a difference. I stopped making mistakes. My thinking was much clearer. I was thankful the doctors were so persistent.” During the Oct. 2 open house, Franciscan Companies also introduced the HomeSafe Wireless System, which is being made available to people without land lines. Company representatives said this alternative to the traditional Lifeline system is crucial as more than 100 million copper phone lines have been disconnected since 2000; it’s anticipated that just one in four U.S. households will have a copper phone line at the end of this year. Lawton said the nation’s aging population can look forward to tremendous improvements in Lifeline’s technology in the years to come. There will come a day when customers can bring a device on vacation with the expectation that help will be on its way where ever they are. “You can be swimming at Green Lakes or swimming in the ocean far away from here and not worry,” she said. “It’s a pretty exciting concept.”

Golden Years Health Problems Can Disrupt Seniors’ Sleep By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


ou’ve done all you can to improve “sleep hygiene,” the habits and environment that affect your ability to sleep. The bedroom is quiet, dark and cool. Your bed is comfortable. You eschew afternoon naps, reading in bed, TV in the bedroom, alcohol, caffeinated beverages and heavy and spicy suppers. You exercise earlier in the day, not right before bed. You’re doing all of these great things to help you sleep yet you still can’t get 40 winks. So what’s wrong? Maybe it’s just you. No, not you personally, but health problems unrelated to sleep hygiene. Beyond the frustration of not sleeping well at night, insufficient sleep — less than the seven and a half to nine hours per night most people need — can cause other health problems. Neil B. Widrick, manager of the Sleep Laboratory at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, said that people who persistently get too little sleep have high levels of fat in their blood. “Research has also shown that people with altered sleep patterns or who don’t get regularly get enough sleep are more likely to be obese and develop diabetes or metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of conditions that are associated with increased risk of heart disease,” Widrick said. Sporadic daytime napping, sleeping in and getting up at night all wreak havoc on the circadian rhythm, the body’s natural wake/sleep cycle. Sleep disorders can sabotage sleep. Many people are not even aware they suffer from sleep apnea and restless

legs syndrome until someone else tells them what they’re doing while sleeping. Other health issues can disrupt sleep, too. “Elderly individuals often take multiple medications for their medical problems,” said Stephan Alkins, board-certified in pulmonary disease and certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Sleep Medicine. “Many medications can cause sleepiness which lead to napping during the day,” he added. “Some medications, such as diuretics, will fragment sleep and these medications should be taken during the day to minimize the need to get up at night to use the bathroom.” Alkins practices at Internist Associates, which operates offices throughout the Syracuse area. Pain can make it difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep in. Taking analgesic medications before going to sleep to help minimize pain and therefore help improve sleep continuity. Ask your doctor about what nighttime pain control methods and medications that can help you. They may be different than what you should use during the daytime. Topical rubs may help with arthritis, for example, when used with your regular analgesic. Blood pressure medication may cause muscle aches that can bother you more at night. Some medication can cause nausea, for example. “Sometimes changing the time of take these medications can help with daytime alertness,” Alkins said. It’s important to talk with your doctor to make sure taking a particular

Alkins drug in the morning is okay and won’t interfere with a medication taken at that time. If a particular drug is causing a problem that disrupts your sleep, don’t assume that your doctor will whip out the prescription pad. You may be able to try different strategies for improving sleep or a non-habit forming over-thecounter sleep aid if it does not interfere with any current medication. Most insurance companies don’t require a referral from your general practitioner before visiting a sleep lab.

St. Francis Adult Day Care Program Now Under VNA Homecare’s Ownership


he board of trustees of St. Francis Social Adult Day Care, Inc. with the approval of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, recently announced that they approved the transfer of the St. Francis Social Adult Day Care Program to VNA Homecare. The sisters will no longer sponsor the program, which began in 1989. According to Sister Barbara Jean Donovan, administrator for St. Francis Social Adult Day Care, Inc., the decision was the result of a planning process initiated by the board of trustees to preserve the mission and service during these changing times. The selection of VNA Homecare was based on similar mission and quality of service, commitment to the

elderly, location, and consistency with the principles and values of the Sisters of St. Francis. In early December 2013, the program will relocate to the Home Aides of Central New York building located at 723 James St. Home Aides of Central New York is a division of VNA Homecare. The plan includes incorporation of existing staff, participants and contract parties. The name of the program will change and all those associated with the current program will be kept apprised of all developments associated with the ownership transfer. “We are very pleased that The Sisters of St. Francis have entrusted us to continue this most important program,” said VNA Homecare’s President and Chief Executive Officer M.

Kate Rolf. “The personalized care and support that is delivered to participants and their families is an invaluable part of our community’s long term care system. We have a commitment and responsibility to meet the needs of the community and this affords us with another avenue for doing so. We are very much looking forward to taking this step.” As an alternative in the long-term care system, St. Francis Social Adult Day Care guides individuals with diminishing physical, mental or psychological capacity to maintain optimal independence so they can remain in their own homes or with loved ones and benefits from social interaction and stimulation throughout the day. November 2013 •

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If you’re eligible for Medicaid, and need any in-home long term health care services, there’s a new option available for you. Now you can choose a managed long term care plan, like VNA Homecare Options, to receive the assistance and services you need. VNA Homecare has served this community for over 100 years. We are the organization you can trust to coordinate the services you need to stay safe, independent and in your own home – not a nursing home.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • November 2013


Social Security Serves Those Who’ve Served

n Nov.11, we honor our nation’s about Social Security disability benefits veterans for their service to as well as topics unique to wounded America. What better time than service members. The online video is now to tell you — and for you to help less than three minutes and a great spread the word — about the many introduction to disability benefits for benefits and wealth of information veterans and active duty military. Social Security has available for On the same webpage, veterans and military personnel? you’ll also find links to useful Social Security recognizes Veterans Affairs and Departthose who put their lives on the ment of Defense websites. The line for our freedoms. Memrequirements for disability bers of the armed forces receive benefits available through Soexpedited processing of their cial Security are different than Social Security disability applicathose from the Department of tions. The expedited process is Veterans Affairs and require a available for any military service separate application. member who became disabled Military service members during active duty on or after are covered for the same Social Banikowski Oct. 1, 2001, regardless of where Security survivors, disability, the disability occurs. Some dependent and retirement benefits as everyone children and spouses of military perelse. Although the expedited service is sonnel may also be eligible to receive relatively new, military personnel have benefits. been covered under Social Security Visit our website designed specifisince 1957, and people who were in the cally for our wounded veterans: www. service prior to that may be able to get special credit for some of their service. There, you will find answers to a numTo learn more about Social Security ber of commonly asked questions, as for current and former military service well as other useful information about members, read “Military Service and disability benefits available under Social Security.” It’s available in our the Social Security and Supplemental digital library at www.socialsecurity. Security Income (SSI) programs. Please gov/pubs. pay special attention to the fact sheet But first, take a look at the woundavailable on that website, “Disability ed warrior page at www.socialsecurity. Benefits for Wounded Warriors.” gov/woundedwarriors. The webinar, You’ll also find a webinar that factsheet, and pertinent links will brief explains the faster disability process you on everything you need to know available to wounded warriors. The to “maneuver” your way through the program covers general information Social Security process.


Q: I got an email that says it’s from Social Security, but I’m not so sure. They want me to reply with my Social Security number, date of birth, and mother’s maiden name for “verification.” Did it really come from Social Security? A: No. Social Security will not send you an email asking you to share your personal information, such as your Social Security number, date of birth, or other private information. Beware of such scams — they’re after your information so they can use it for their own benefit. When in doubt, or if you have any questions about correspondence you receive from Social Security, contact your local Social Security office or call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to see whether we really need any information from you. Q: I run a small business and I am hiring a few employees. How can I recognize a valid Social Security card? A: There are more than 50 different versions of the Social Security card, all of which are valid. Although there are several versions of the card in circulation, all prior versions of the card are valid. The number is what is most

important. The best way for you and other employers to verify a name and Social Security number is to use the free Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS). Once you register for Business Services Online at www., you can start using SSNVS. SSNVS allows you to quickly verify whether a person’s name and number match Social Security’s records. Q: What are the benefit amounts for which a spouse may be entitled? A: A spouse receives one-half of the retired worker’s full benefit if the spouse retires at full retirement age. If the spouse begins collecting benefits before full retirement age, we reduce those benefits by a percentage based on how much earlier the spouse retires. However, if a spouse is taking care of a child who is either under age 16 or disabled and receiving Social Security benefits, a spouse gets full (one-half) benefits, regardless of age. If you are eligible for both your own retirement benefit and for benefits as a spouse, we always pay your own benefit first. If your benefit as a spouse is higher than your retirement benefit, you’ll receive a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse’s benefit. Learn more at

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How to Find Affordable Cremation Services Dear Savvy Senior, Can you offer any tips for finding low-cost cremation services? I don’t want to stick my kids with a big funeral bill after I die. Still Alive Dear Alive, Cremation is definitely one of the most affordable ways to go, when you go. Costs usually run between $600 and $3,000, which are significantly lower than the average full-service funeral that averages around $10,000 today. Cost is also one of the big reasons why the popularity of cremation is soaring. Roughly 40 percent of Americans now choose cremation, up from 27 percent just a decade ago. Here are some tips for locating lowcost services. Compare Providers

Because prices can vary sharply, start by calling the funeral homes in your area (most funeral homes provide cremation services) and ask them how much they charge for a “direct cremation,” which is the least expensive option. With direct cremation, there’s no embalming, formal viewing or funeral. It only includes the essentials: picking up the body, completing the required paperwork, the cremation itself and providing ashes to the family. If your family wants to have a memorial service, they can have it at home or your place of worship after the cremation, in the presence of your remains. To locate nearby funeral homes, look in your local yellow pages under “cremation” or “funeral” or visit You may also be able to get help and referrals through your nearby memorial society or local funeral consumer alliance program (see funerals. org/affiliates-directory or call 802-8658300 for contact information). These are volunteer groups that offer a wide range of information and prices on local funeral and cremation providers. If, however, you’re not up to calling around, there are also a number of free websites — like funeraldecisions. com and — that you or

your family can use that can do the work for you. With these sites, you just answer a few questions, and your nearby funeral homes will provide estimates based on your request.

Low-Cost Urns

The urn is another item you need to be aware of that can drive up costs. Funeral home urns usually cost around $50 to $300, but you aren’t required to get one. Most funeral homes initially place ashes in a plastic bag that is inserted into a thick plastic box. The box is all you need if you intend to have your ashes scattered. But if you want something to display, you can probably find a nice urn or comparable container online., for example, sells urns for as little as $25. Or, you may want to use an old cookie jar or container you have around the house instead of a traditional urn.

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HOME DELIVERED MEALS ARE A LIFELINE TO MANY FRAIL ELDERLY SENIORS Nutritious, hot noon meals are available throughout Cayuga County for those seniors unable to prepare a meal for themselves. Meals can be home delivered or available at one of six senior meal sites. (There is a suggested donation) If you know someone who could benefit From a hot noon meal, call the: Cayuga County Office for the Aging Senior Nutrition Program 253-1427

Financial Help

If you can’t afford your cremation costs, there are a number of places you can turn to that may help. For starters, many towns or counties provide assistance through their social services department if you or your family can’t afford to pay. Your family should also be able to get some aid from Social Security, which pays a survivor a one-time death benefit of $255. And if you’re a veteran, the VA provides a burial benefit that includes a free burial at a national cemetery and a free grave marker. But it doesn’t cover funeral provider or cremation costs.

Free Cremation

Another option to consider that provides free cremation is to donate your body to a university-affiliated medical school. After using your body for research, they will cremate your remains for free, and either bury or scatter your ashes in a local cemetery or return them to your family, usually within a year or two. To find a medical facility near you that accepts body donations, the University of Florida maintains a directory at Or, call the National Family Service Desk, which operates a free referral service at 800-727-0700.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit www.savvysenior. org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.


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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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H ealth News ENTs join the staff at Oswego Hospital Two otolaryngologists, who will treat a variety of ear, nose and throat issues as well as provide facial plastic surgery, have joined the Oswego Health medical staff. Board certified ENT physicians Nicholas Groch and Melanie Pence have opened an office in suite 210 of the Oswego Health Services Center, located adjacent to Oswego Hospital. Groch earned his bachelor’s and Doctor of Osteopathic MediGroch cine degree at Michigan State University. His internship and residency in otolaryngology/ facial plastic surgery were both completed at Henry Ford Bi-County Hospital in Warren, Mich. Pence earned her bachelor’s degree, as well as her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Pence degree at Michigan State University. The East Lansing based-college is where she also completed her internship. Pence fulfilled

her residency in otolaryngology head & neck/facial plastic surgery at Metropolitan Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich. The two otolaryngologists will have a joint practice providing a wide range of services from hearing and balance testing to allergy testing, sinus surgery, pediatric ear infections, snoring and sleep apnea, thyroidectomies, skin cancer excisions and cosmetic procedures. Both physicians are board-certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Otolaryngology in head & neck/facial plastic surgery. An audiologist is also expected to join the practice in the upcoming weeks.

New hospitalist joins Crouse Hospital Abha Harish has joined the medical staff at Crouse Hospital and will serve in the day rotation of the hospitalist service, which provides in-hospital care for patients whose physicians do not provide hospital-based services. Harish comes to Crouse from St. Paul, Minnesota, where she was an attending hospitalist at St. Joseph Hospital. She received her M.B.B.S. from All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi and earned her master’s in public health from the University of

College of Nursing Dean Named a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing Joyce P. Griffin-Sobel, dean it easier for nursing students to of the College of Nursing at Uptransition from junior to senior colstate Medical University, has been leges, in the City University of New named as fellow of the American York system. She has made signifiAcademy of Nursing. A formal incant contributions to the knowlduction ceremony was held edge base for oncology and Oct. 19 in Washington, D.C. gastrointestinal nursing, “Selection for fellowand edited a major oncology ship in the academy is one nursing journal. of the most prestigious She helped increase ophonors in the field of nursportunities for nurses to do ing,” said the academy’s clinical research, when as a president, Joanne Disch. member of the U.S. Naval Griffin-Sobel is one of Reserve, among other posionly 10 individuals in New tions, she develop the first York state to receive the program of clinical nursing honor this year. Nationally, Griffin-Sobel research. Her visionary and the Academy named 172 sustained contributions to individuals as fellows. the specialty of nursing education The selection process to the earned her a fellowshipin the Acadacademy is rigorous. Individuals emy of Nurse Educators in 2008. must have made significant contriGriffin-Sobel’s impact has been butions to nursing and health care; felt as an author, editor and contribespecially important is the extent to utor to numerous scholarly works, which the nominee has influenced and books, including Gastrointeshealth policies and the health and tinal Cancers (her clinical focus) well-being of society. and Hematology & Immunology: During a career of more than 30 Concepts for Nursing, which won years, Griffin-Sobel has been instru- an American Journal of Nursing mental in incorporating technology Book of the Year Award. into nursing education, with special She earned her PhD at New attention given to the use of inforYork University in nursing (1987), matics and simulation, and, while her MS in nursing as a clinical at Hunter College, she led a major nurse specialist at Hunter-Bellevue initiative in training faculty how to School of Nursing (1981) and her use technology in teaching. She also BS in nursing at Herbert H. Lehmstreamlined the process and made an College (1975). Page 22

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • November 2013

Massachusetts at Amherst. Harish completed her residency through Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha and also completed a nephrology and hypertension fellowship through the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Harish enjoys travel, music, Indian classical dance, photography and cinema.

Providers join Auburn’s East Hill Family Medical East Hill Family Medical, Inc. in Auburn announced the addition of two new providers. They are: • Dentist Cindy T. Hong. In addition to working in the dental clinic, she will be the principal dentist for East Hill’s school-based dental programs. Hong recently completed a general practice residency at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse. Hong received her D.D.S. degree in June 2012 from the University of California, San Francisco. Her undergraduate work was completed at the University of California, Irvine. Hong has additional clinical experience at the Pulaski Health Center and at the Asian Health Clinic in Oakland, Ca. • Board-certified pediatrician Amy Y. DiFabio. She most recently worked in pediatrics at the Guthrie Medical Clinic in Ithaca. DiFabio received her degree from the Upstate MediDiFabio. cal University School of Medicine in 2006. She completed her pediatric residency there as well. She has also worked as a clinical faculty instructor at the Galisano Children’s Hospital as well as Upstate Medical. She will see patients at Summit Pediatrics.

Panasci to chair St. Joe’s foundation board St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center Foundation appointed David H. Panasci to the position of chairman to the foundation board. President of DHP Consulting, LLC in Camillus, Panasci has more than 30 years of executive management experience in the local Central New York business community. He is a management consultant with broad experience within a wide range of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, media and retail. Prior to his curPanasci rent position with DHP Consulting, Panasci was president and COO of Fay’s Inc., a retail business that operated a chain of super drug stores under the name, “Fay’s Drugs” between 1958 and 1996. A Syracuse University graduate with a Bachelor of Science in managerial law and public policy, Panasci also holds master’s in business administra-

tion degrees from Cornell University and Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. He is an active member of several professional associations, including the Institute of Management Consultants/USA and the National Association of Corporate Directors. A resident of Jamesville, Panasci is committed to helping to strengthen Syracuse and the surrounding region through community service. In addition to his service to St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation, he is a board member for the Syracuse Opera Company and Syracuse 20/20. He is both a member of the National Industrial Advisory Council for University of Buffalo’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and an adjunct assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences for the University at Buffalo.

Nanette Dowling to direct aging research institute The Rodney S. and Marjorie Fink Institute of Research on Aging, housed at Menorah Park of CNY in Syracuse, has appointed geriatric psychiatrist Nanette M. Dowling as its first research director. Dowling will assume responsibility for the applied research agenda of the institute focusing on geriatric mental health. Dowling is boardcertified in psychiatry with a sub-specialty in geriatric psychiatry. She held her psychiatry residency at SUNYUpstate and a geriatric fellowship at Columbia University and Greater Binghamton Health Center. Dowling also Dowling holds a master’s degree in Health Policy and Administration and received a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) degree from Touro University. She currently serves as an attending psychiatrist and associate professor at SUNY-Upstate Medical University in the department of psychiatry. “I’m ecstatic for this opportunity to lead the charge in research on geriatric mental health at The Fink Institute of Research on Aging,” Dowling said. “Issues of depression and anxiety in the elderly have largely been undiagnosed and under treated. The institute will distinguish itself through research that considers real people and their unique challenges. We will develop best practices from numerous perspectives including technological advances and specialized geriatric mental health care to meet the complex needs of our aging population.”

Maria Dillon named director of hospital operations Maria Dillon has been promoted to director of Laboratory Alliance’s hospital operations. She will continue to oversee operations at the company’s largest rapid response laboratory at

H ealth News St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, a position she has held since 2011. Dillon is an experienced scientist, leader, trainer and communicator with more than 30 years experience in medical technology. She joined the staff at Laboratory Alliance’s Dillon rapid response laboratory at Community General Hospital in 1994, serving as manager from 2005 to 2011. Dillon earned her bachelor’s degree in medical technology from Daemen College in Amherst, is certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists and is a member of the Central New York chapter of Clinical Laboratory Management Association. She is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys traveling. Dillon resides in Camillus with her husband Patrick.

New members join St. Joe’s medical staff The following physicians joined St. Joseph’s active medical staff: Michelle J. Auerbach, OB-GYN, a resident of Marcellus; Erika Hegland, family medicine, of Syracuse; Nelly Y. Kazzaz, internal medicine, of Syracuse; Michael P. Kenney, internal medicine, of Fayetteville; Kathryn C. Schlegel, emergency medicine, of Camillus; C. Melinda Stevens, surgery, of Baldwinsville; and Jacob A. Vella, anesthesiology, of Syracuse,

St. Joseph’s receives ISO 9001 quality certification St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center recently received ISO 9001 certification for its quality management program. St. Joseph’s is one of the first 30 hospitals in the country to achieve this certification. ISO stands for the International Organization for Standards. The United States is one of 90 countries that belong to the consortium, which originally focused on technical specifications for manufacturing and scientific industries. Today, the ISO 9001 Quality Management system addresses a wider range of business processes applicable to lots of different organizations, including healthcare. ISO 9001 certification means that St. Joseph’s has a quality management system, made up of eight management principles that guide how the hospital documents, implements, maintains and improves its processes. This quality management system is guided by the hospital’s top leadership and linked to the hospital’s overall strategy. St. Joseph’s accrediting body, DNV Healthcare, Inc., the hospital accreditation company of Det Norske Veritas, is the only healthcare accreditation organization tying ISO 9001 compliance with Centers for Medicare/Medicaid-approved accreditation. During the hospital’s most recent accreditation visit in October, surveyors recommended the organization for ISO 9001

certification; that recommendation was officially approved at the end of November. “The DNV, and integrated ISO 9001 framework, is consistent with our dedicated approach to quality at St. Joseph’s,” said Kathryn Ruscitto, president and chief executive officer of St. Joseph’s. “We value the approach DNV takes to continuous improvement and are pleased to have reached this milestone in our quality program.”

Crouse’s ostomy nurse receives award Crouse wound and ostomy nurse Deb Patterson, attended the Northeast Region’s Wound Ostomy Continence Conference in early October and received the highest recognition presented annually: The President’s Award. Patterson was honored for her many years of volunteer work at Youth Rally, where young people with ostomies and other severe disabilities get to have a week at camp just like other kids.

Oswego Hospital accredited by Joint Commission Oswego Hospital has been accredited by The Joint Commission following a four-day survey conducted by the national standards organization. The Joint Commission visited Oswego Hospital in June. The surveyors did recommend improvements and Oswego Hospital is in the process of making those improvements. Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standardssetting and accrediting body in health care. To earn and maintain The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval, an organization must undergo an on-site survey by a Joint Commission survey team at least every three years.

Loretto introduces three new board members Loretto President and CEO Bruce Buchanan recently announced the appointment of three new members to the Loretto Management Corporation board of directors • John Brennan has been an attorney with Byrne, Costello and Pickard, since 1986. He was born in Syracuse, received his Bachelor of Science degree from Le Moyne College and a J. D. from Syracuse University College of Law. Brennan’s practice areas include health law, hospital law, housing and urban development law, construction, nonprofit organizations and affordable

2013 “Gift of Age” Cabaret honorees Amelia Greiner (far left), Charlotte “Chuckie” Holstein (second from right) and Anne Marie Mullen, vice president of Laboratory Alliance (far right), pose with Eldercare Foundation President and CEO M. Kate Rolf.

6th Annual Eldercare Awards Presented The Eldercare Foundation held its 6th annual “Gift of Age” Cabaret Oct. 4, honoring three Central New Yorkers residents who strive to make a difference in the community through their work, volunteerism or service to older Americans. The event raised more than $67,000; proceeds will benefit the Eldercare Foundation, a division of VNA Homecare. Eldercare Foundation’s mission is to enable community’s elders to remain at home with dignity and independence. The honorees were: • Charlotte “Chuckie” Holstein, Eldercare Lifetime Achievement Honoree. Holstein was one of the founders of the Syracuse/ Onondaga County Area Office on Aging, as well as Meals on Wheels of Syracuse. Her work on the New York State Board of Social Welfare enabled her to assist in the approval of the establishment of Home Aides of Central New York during the mid 1960’s. She served as chairwoman of Loretto for 13 years and spearheaded the development of the Nottingham retirement community (the first retirement community in New York state). In 1990, Holstein founded Leadership Greater Syracuse and Youth Leadership Greater Syracuse, serving as the organizations’ executive director for 10 years. Soon after, she founded and became executive director of F.O.C.U.S. Greater Syracuse (a position she still holds), a citizen driven organization that fosters change in Central New York by enabling citizens to work together and improve the quality of life and economic future of our area. • Amelia Greiner, Eldercare Accomplished Professional Honoree. In the fall of 1965, at the request of the United Community Chest and Council, Amelia Greiner led a group at the Junior League of Syracuse in the study and documentation of the need for homemaker services in Onondaga County, an effort that ultimately led to the founding of Home Aides of Central New York, where she served as executive director from 1966-1974. Following her service at Home Aides of Central New York, Greiner went on to work November 2013 •

in the real estate profession, retiring as executive vice president of Sutton Real Estate. She is best known for her service and volunteerism to numerous community agencies, and has received numerous awards for her humanism and community service. • Laboratory Alliance of Central New York, LLC, Eldercare Corporate Champion Honoree Laboratory Alliance of Central New York is the area’s largest state-licensed laboratory, providing clinical and anatomic pathology testing to a 16-county region in Central New York. Laboratory tests are vital to assessing wellness and to diagnosing and treating illness and disease that affect patients’ lives. As the laboratory of choice for most local healthcare providers, more than 10 million tests are performed annually at Laboratory Alliance’s four laboratories, all located in Syracuse. Laboratory Alliance is owned by and serves the three acute care hospitals in Syracuse. It also services all of the home care agencies in the region, seven long-term care facilities, and end-of-life centers including Hospice of Central New York, Francis House and the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities Jolenta Convent. Laboratory Alliance’s phlebotomists also provide some in-home services for homebound patients in Onondaga County. “We hold this event in the hope of raising our community’s compassion for aging individuals and their families,” notes Anita P. Lombardi, chairwoman of the Eldercare Foundation board of directors. “By recognizing the exemplary contributions of our honorees, we raise awareness of the importance of caring about, and caring for, our community elders.” Major sponsors of the 2013 “Gift of Age Cabaret” included Sutton Real Estate Company, LLC; Cygnus Management Foundation; Boundary Breaks Vineyard; Feldmeier Equipment; Harris Beach, PLLC; Kinney Drugs; VNA Homecare; and Welch Allyn.

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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H ealth News housing. Brennan is a former director of the Onondaga County Resource Recovery agency, a member of the Onondaga County and New York State Bar Associations, and the State Association for Affordable Housing. • Kevin Bryans is chief financial officer and shareholder of Polaris Library Systems in Liverpool. He has 23 years of accounting, finance and management experience from public, privately held and nonprofit organizations. As a member of the senior management team, Bryans oversees Polaris Library Systems’ financial, human resources and facilities functions. Bryans is a certified public accountant and chartered global management accountant (CGMA) licensed in New York state. Prior to joining Polaris, he was chief financial officer at Strategic Computer Solutions (SCS). He holds a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Oswego. He is a member of the AICPA and NYSSCPA’s and serves as interim chairperson of County North Children’s Center board of directors and on the SUNY Oswego school of business advisory board. • Christine Woodcock Dettor is an attorney with the law firm Bousquet Holstein, PLLC, based in Syracuse. Her practice focuses on nonporfit organizations, trusts and estates, health care, professional practices, and elder law. She holds membership in the Onondaga and New York State Bar Associations. She has served on the boards of a number of community organizations and is the past chairwoman of the Cen-

tral New York Community Foundation. She is also a former board member of Syracuse Stage and Literacy Volunteers of Greater Syracuse. Dettor is a frequent lecturer on issues pertaining to tax exempt organizations, trusts and estates and charitable planning, and was awarded the designation of accredited estate planner by the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College and a J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law.

Crouse Hospital receives stroke-related award Crouse Hospital has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke ‘Gold Plus’ Quality Achievement Award for 2013. The award recognizes Crouse’s commitment and success in implementing high standards of care for stroke patients according to evidencebased guidelines. To receive the award, Crouse achieved of 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The GuidelinesStroke Quality Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Measures, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care.

OCO Cancer Services Program Welcomes Oswego Surgical Associates

Physicians Dawn Holman and Alec Sokolovski (from left), with the staff of OCO Cancer Services Program: Carolyn Handville, Rochelle Kandt and Meghan Collins. Carolyn Handville (center), program coordinator for OCO’s Cancer Services Program Partnership, welcomes back professionals from Oswego Surgical Associates as they renew their contract with the program for another year. The Cancer Services Program provides free cancer screenings including clinical breast exams, mammograms, pap/pelvic exams Page 24

and colon cancer screenings to uninsured women aged 40 to 64, uninsured men aged 50 to 64 and uninsured or underinsured women under 40 years of age who are at risk of, or has had a clinically significant finding for breast cancer. To schedule an appointment, contact the Cancer Services Program at 315-592-0830.

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • November 2013

These measures include aggressive use of medications, such as antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation, all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients. In addition to the Get With The Guideline-Stroke award Crouse has also been recognized as a recipient of the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll, for improving stroke care. Over the past quarter, at least 50 percent of the hospital’s eligible ischemic stroke patients have received tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital (known as ‘door-to-needle’ time). A thrombolytic, or clot-busting agent, tPA is the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the urgent treatment of ischemic stroke. “With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and this award demonstrates our focus on and commitment to being one of the top hospitals in the country for providing aggressive, proven stroke care,” says Ron Stahl, chief medical officer for Crouse Hospital. Crouse has been a New York State Department of Health-designated stroke center since 2007.

Crouse hosts Chinese science delegation Crouse Hospital recently hosted a delegation from a Chinese technical organization that has been building a relationship locally with CenterState CEO. Member if the China Association for the Promotion of Private Science and Technology Enterprises (CAPPSTE) visited with Crouse officials during their recent four-day stay in Syracuse and were given tours of the hospital’s Witting Surgical Center and Interventional Radiology Suite. The 20delegation members were also given a hands-on demonstration of the da Vinci robotic surgical technology. Crouse’s multispecialty robotic surgery program is the largest in the area. CAPPSTE is a government established trade group that promotes private sector business activity in China for high-tech and science-based companies. They function like the US Chamber of Commerce and the U.S.’s National Institute of Standards. The association has 100,000 members (people) in all provinces of China at about 400 member sites (largely industrial parks). CAPPSTE is responsible for providing supplemental and primary medical options to its membership as well as extending those services/options to high-ranking Chinese government officials. This was their second visit to Syracuse this year.

Upstate earns ‘CEO Gold Standard’ accreditation Upstate Medical University is leading by example when it comes to promoting workplace wellness and encouraging healthier behavior.

The CEO Roundtable on Cancer has awarded Upstate with CEO Gold Standard Accreditation for its efforts to reduce the risk of cancer for its employees and covered family members by promoting healthy lifestyle choices, encouraging early detection through cancer screenings, and ensuring access to quality treatment. Upstate becomes the only hospital in Syracuse to earn this accreditation. Nationally, 154 institutions have received this designation. “We are pleased to recognize the efforts of SUNY Upstate Medical University and their dedication to health care that begins with improving the health and wellness of their own employees,” said Christopher A. Viehbacher, chief executive officer of Sanofi and chairman of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer. “An academic medical center leads by example and ensuring that our employees and their families have the knowledge, opportunities and encouragement to lead healthy lifestyles, especially when it relates to cancer, enhances the care we offer our patients,” said physician David R. Smith, president of Upstate Medical University. Upstate has developed numerous initiatives to demonstrate its commitment to building a healthy workplace, especially as it relates to cancer. The initiatives include: creation of a tobacco-free workplace and campus, access to healthy weight and/or nutrition/ weight control programming.

St. Joseph’s honors two of its leaders St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center honored two leaders with its Leadership in the Franciscan Tradition award at a leadership gathering Oct. 22. AnneMarie Czyz, chief nursing officer, and Carol Triggs, retired director of patient access, were chosen for the award by their peers. “This award was created two years ago as a way for us to recognize and honor the leaders among us who follow St. Francis of Assisi as servant leaders,” said Deborah Welch, vice president for people. “As a Catholic organization in the Franciscan tradition, we call on our leaders to strive to lead and serve the way St. Francis did.” Employed by St. Joseph’s for 16 years and a graduate of its College of Nursing, Czyz has grown from a nurse to a leader. Her peers say she assists all staff in making changes and moving forward. Her passion for nursing and health care is contagious and she is committed to learning and continued education. A resident of Syracuse, she is currently working toward an educational doctorate. Triggs, who served for 12 years at St. Joseph’s has led the patient access team through many process improvements. Her peers say she is a compassionate teacher and coach, helping her team show the utmost care and concern as they interact with patients, families and staff. Endlessly committed to the mission at St. Joseph’s, she influences her staff to strive for excellence in all they do. She is a resident of Syracuse.

Mountain View Healing Center Making Choices For A Healthier Today

What They Want You to Know: Neonatologists By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


he American Academy of Pediatrics states that a neonatologist cares for newborns who are “premature, or have a serious illness, injury, or birth defect.” In addition to their four years of medical school, neonatologists complete three years of residency training in general pediatrics, three years of additional training in newborn intensive care, certification from the American Board of Pediatrics and by the Sub-board of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. • “It always helps for families to remember the doctors and nurses are not mind readers. Ask your question no matter how small you think it is. They need to share what’s on their mind and be open with information whether it’s a question or concern, no matter what it is. • “Parents should not have the feeling that their babies don’t know them. You can see the [baby’s] heart rate settle when the parents are there. • “Parents go through a grieving process of having their baby in NICU. They want to be there and feel the baby is part of their family. • “It’s hard when you’re told ‘Don’t do that.’ Ask why. Young parents and ones not familiar with premature or sick babies won’t know what to do. That’s natural. Sometimes we have to ask them to back off with the touch. • “From a staff point of view, one of the hardest thing is there are times where we have to restrict entrance to the nursery for siblings and grandparents. It’s hard a lot of times for families like that. You want everyone to see your child, but you really don’t because of the risk of infection you have to keep others away. • “The biggest thing families need to remember is their newborn isn’t ready for the rest of the world. Their immune system is weaker. [Family and visitors] have to wash their hands and keep the baby away from secondhand smoke. We want to promote the thought that their child will be more susceptible to colds and respiratory issues and second-hand smoke increases that risk. Often, second-hand smoke is associated with SIDS [sudden infant death syndrome]. • “I encourage families to enjoy their child and understand that this is just temporary.” Michelle M Bode, neonatologist with Crouse Hospital NICU • “The best thing for a baby’s health is for the mom to get good prenatal care. It’s very important to avoid smoking and drugs and alcohol. We’re unfortunately seeing a nationwide

epidemic of babies born to drug-using mothers who are treated in the NICU for a very lengthy period of time for drug withdrawal. There are areas where they’re opening special units devoted to taking care of drug babies. • “Some women, biologically, for whatever reason, have trouble carrying to term. But it’s still better to do the right things and get prenatal care to maximize the chances of a good outcome. • “ the 35 to 36 weeks range...can have a weight which is full-term, they’ll look like they’re full term, but they’re still preemies. We can have difficulty in communicating that to parents that the baby looks fine but can have eating problems, immaturity in their breathing patters such that they have forms of apnea or breath holding spells, trouble maintaining their temperature and jaundice. They usually need to stay a week or two before they go home. Jonathan Chai, neonatologist with St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center NICU • “The connection between a mother and her baby is physical. It’s not just emotional or psychological. The need to be touched by the mom is valuable. The benefits are increasingly well described and interacting with the baby from birth, even as a preemie, are profound. • “It’s rarely a place where there is life and death scenarios taking place. Most babies in our NICU go home and do well. That is a very gratifying experience. • “In neonatology, we have been using data to assess quality. This has been a standard for many, many years. The NICU submits their data on how many complications they have, mortality rates, and so on to a national organization so they can compare themselves to their organizations. St. Joseph’s is the only NICU in the city that participates in a national database.”

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Larry Consenstein, neonatologist with St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center NICU Deborah Jeanne Sergeant is a writer with In Good Health. “What Your Doctor Wants You to Know” is an ongoing column that appears monthly to give our area’s healthcare professionals an opportunity to share how patients can improve their care by helping their providers and by helping themselves.

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November 2013 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 25

Tips for Medicare Open Enrollment


dults who are age 65 or older or are disabled will now have the option to keep or switch their Medicare Advantage plans for 2014. Medicare’s open enrollment period started Oct. 15 and will continue through Dec. 7. “Eligible individuals should first review any premium or benefit changes to their current plans for 2014,” said Michael Burke, senior vice president, government programs, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “Even if they’re happy with their current plan, major benefit or premium changes might indicate that another Medicare option might best fit their needs,” he added. Individuals should also consider the following: • Which “star” rating did the health plan receive? The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services rate the quality of Medicare Advantage plans on a scale of one to five, with five stars representing the highest quality. • Does your doctor, pharmacist or hospital contract with the health

plan? It can be costly to see a doctor, pharmacy or hospital that’s not in a health plan’s network. • Lower premium vs. higher premium. Would you rather pay a higher monthly premium, but pay less when you go to the doctor? Or would a lower monthly premium with higher costs for services work best? • Consider a $0 premium plan. You’re paying $0 a month, but still receiving comprehensive benefits. “Medicare is not part of the new health insurance exchanges,” Burke added. “The exchanges are for individuals who are not eligible for Medicare and need health coverage.” For Medicare help, call 1-888529-0019 or find a Medicare informational seminar near you at Medicare Advantage plans are a type of Medicare health plan offered by health insurers that contract with the federal government to provide hospital and medical coverage to eligible individuals.

The 4 Ps of Choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan


f you are 65 or older, now is the time to think about your health care needs for the coming year. Open enrollment for Medicare 2014 is underway, and seniors only have until Dec. 7 to select or change their coverage. Medicare coverage is not affected by the Affordable Care Act. Many seniors are interested in Medicare Advantage Plans. Commonly known as Part C, Medicare Advantage provides insurance for hospitalization and in-patient care (Part A) as well as doctors’ services, outpatient care and some preventive services (Part B). It may also include prescription coverage (Part D). There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan. Fidelis Care Chief Marketing Officer Pamela Hassen offers a few tips, better known as the four Ps, to help you choose the right plan for you.


While many Medicare Advantage products offer similar, comprehensive benefits, the prices may be very different. “Some products have a monthly premium but $0 copay. Others have a copay but $0 premium. Think about your health care needs in the coming year,” says Hassen. “Also, think about whether you need prescription drug coverage. That could be a deciding factor.”


Hassen says making a list of your current doctors as well as doctors you may need to see in the next year is helpful. “If your primary care physician or a specialist you see regularly isn’t in the network, Page 26

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • November 2013

think about whether you feel comfortable making a change,” Hassen says. She also recommends looking at the hospitals in the network and finding out if you would be covered if you need medical care while traveling or visiting relatives in another part of the state.


Take a look at the benefits and services offered through the product you are considering. “If you need eye exams, dental benefits, or hearing aids, find out if they are included,” advises Hassen. “You should also know if your prescription drugs are in the plan’s formulary, how much they will cost, and whether your local pharmacy participates. “A flex spending account may be an added benefit. Making a list of your over-the-counter medications and medical supplies can help you determine if flex spending will cover your out-of-pocket costs.

Peace of Mind

“When you make a Medicare Advantage Plan decision, you should feel confident you made the right choice for you,” says Hassen. “Be sure to consider the quality and performance of the plan, health care providers, and hospitals.” Talking to friends, neighbors and relatives about choices they have made is a good start. Hassen advises seniors to start thinking about their Medicare coverage for 2014 now. “The plan you choose will likely be your plan for an entire year. You don’t want to wait until December to start looking into your options and rush into a decision.”



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November 2013 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 27

New Medicare plans for 2014!

The Benefits You Care About... Are Right Here. For 2014, here are highlights of our in-network(2) benefits compared to Original Medicare. Benefit Monthly Plan Premium (1) Flex Benefit Part B Deductible PCP Copay Specialist Copay Outpatient Surgery in a Hospital Outpatient Surgery in an Ambulatory Surgical Center Lab Tests X-rays Preventive Services MRIs, CT Scans, PET Scans Inpatient Copay Part D Prescription Drug Coverage Preventive Dental


Fidelis Medicare Advantage without Rx (HMO-POS) $0

Fidelis Medicare Advantage Flex (HMO-POS) $37.20

None $147 20% 20% 20%

None None $10 $20 $285

$500 per year None $0 $0 $285

$100 per year None $15 $25 $285





0% - 20% 20% $0 20%

0%-20% $10 $0 20%

0% $10 $0 20%

0%-20% $10 $0 20%




$285 per day for days 1-5, per admission Yes, with $0 deductible for preferred and non-preferred generics Yes

$285 per day for days 1-5, per admission


$285 per day for days 1-5, per admission No

Original Medicare(3)

*Fidelis Medicare $0 Premium (HMO) $0

Yes, with $0 deductible Yes

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8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. seven days a week from October 1 to February 14, and Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. from February 15 through September 30

Enroll anytime at

The benefit information provided is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. For more information contact the plan. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, premium and/or copayments/coinsurance may change on January 1 of each year. 1You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium. 2Out-of-network services may require more out-of-pocket expense than in-network services. Benefit restrictions apply. 3These are 2013 amounts and may change for 2014. Fidelis Care is a health plan with a Medicare contract H3328_FC 13097 CMS Accepted Page 28

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • November 2013

Igh cny 167 nov13  
Igh cny 167 nov13