IGH MV 160 June 2019

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Can medical pot help autistic kids? Page 19

Health Careers


JUNE 2019 • ISSUE 160

Psyched for a splendid summer! Take on the Great Outdoors See Pages 5-7

Beth Aust Nurse, health coach at Integrative Medicine of Central New York Page 14

Men’s Health Special Edition

Business Spotlight

The bro code

Zalatan Dental Modern Dentist

Learning experience Officiating sports builds valuable life skills Page 9

Male species lives by unwritten rules See story, Page 8

Wonderful watermelon There’s nothing like the sweet, succulent taste of a summer sensation!

Check out SmartBites, Page 12

Birds of a feather

Birding abounds with health benefits Page 7 June 2019 •

Zalatan Dental prides itself on offering state-of-the-art treatment, service Page 16

Meet Your Doctor

Dr. Luis Oceguera Surgeon at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, associate chief of surgery for the Bassett Healthcare Network Page 4

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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D E D I C AT E D T O H E L P I N G Y O U A C H I E V E P O S I T I V E , L O N G - T E R M W E I G H T L O S S

Ken Cooper, DO

Jeff DeSimone, MD

Robotic-Assisted Weight-Loss Surgery. At Crouse. The most experienced robotics team using the latest innovative techniques. As the region’s busiest – and largest – multidisciplinary robotic-assisted surgery program, Crouse Health now offers bariatric (weight loss) surgery using the most advanced robotic technology available. The da Vinci Surgical System gives surgeons Jeff DeSimone, MD, and Ken Cooper, DO, an increased view of the stomach and surrounding area, allowing for more precise and controlled movement during surgery. Compared to conventional weight loss procedures, minimally invasive robotic bariatric surgery offers patients many potential benefits, including:

• Faster recovery • Less scarring • Quicker return to regular routine

• Less trauma to the body • Shorter hospital stay

For more information and to learn if robotic-assisted weight loss surgery may be right for you, join us at one of our upcoming informational sessions — the first Monday and third Thursday of each month. Register at crouse.org/weightloss or 315-470-8974 Marley Education Center, 765 Irving Ave.| Free parking in Marley garage

As with any surgery, there is always risk. Consult your physician to learn if robotic-assisted weight loss surgery is appropriate for you.


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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2019

In Memoriam: Patricia A. Malin Charter member of Mohawk Valley In Good Health writing team passes By Lou Sorendo


atricia Malin, long-time journalist in the Mohawk Valley region, recently passed away at the St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica after a long, valiant battle with illness. Pat, 66, was a charter member of the writing team for Mohawk Valley In Good Health, which has published 160 monthly editions since 2006. “Pat was a great person, and an excellent writer with a nose for finding interesting stories,” said Mohawk Valley In Good Health Publisher Wagner Dotto. “In addiMalin tion to writing for In Good Health newspaper, she contributed a great deal to 55 PLUS magazine, where she wrote many great feature stories. We will certainly miss her work and her friendship. Pat served as our chief correspondent in the Greater Utica area, covering not only some of the more hard-hitting health-related issues in the region, but also focusing efforts on turning out superb human interest features. Her talent at the newspaper will be sorely missed. She not only wrote, but also developed solid story ideas and provided suggestions on how to make our coverage better. Pat was born on April 21, 1952, in New York City, a daughter of Joan Walser. She graduated from Proctor High School in 1970. Pat earned her Bachelor of Arts

degree in German studies at SUNY Oneonta, and had a deep love for her heritage. At times, I attempted to drum up some of the German language I had learned in high school to add to our oftentimes daily banter. She was very quick witted and highly convicted on certain issues, and it was tough to leave a conversation without Pat having said the last word. She began her working career as a sportswriter with the Observer Dispatch newspaper and also worked for Zogby International. She was an avid fan of the Utica Comets, and held her own when it came to talking sports in general. Obviously, being associate editor at the newspaper since its inception, it is impossible not to form a bond with a writer who has been there through every edition. I got to know Pat on a personal basis, and came to appreciate her love for journalism as well as her devotion to her religion. She was a member of St. Joseph & St. Patrick Catholic Church in Utica. We shared time on a personal basis and attended some fun events in the area. Pat also served as a volunteer at Munson Williams and also served on the committee of the Regional Primary Care Network. One thing that was apparent about Pat was her unwillingness to succumb to her cancer, and after remission several years ago, she came back as strong as ever. Even in her last days, she refused to waver and fought hard through the end. She will be remembered not only for her love of news writing, but also her passion for art such as woodcarv-

Kelberman Center receives funding


xcellus BlueCross BlueShield recently awarded the Kelberman Center in Utica with a Community Health Award of $4,000 to help fund the nonprofit organization’s 2019 fitness and nutrition programming for children and young adults with autism. The funding is supporting the “Off the Couch & Outside the Box” Wellness Series, designed to get kids and young adults with autism “off the couch” and thinking “outside

Oneida, Herkimer in good


Health MV’s Healthcare Newspaper

the box” about physical activity and nutrition. The year-long series includes 24 fitness sessions each for kids and teens, as well as a dozen healthy cooking sessions each for kids and for adults, all moderated by Kelberman Center staff experienced in supporting social skills development. Awards focus on improving the health status of the community and reducing the incidence of specific diseases.


ing, and hiking, biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and kayaking. Highly athletic throughout her entire life, she would often challenge me to a game of tennis, which I never followed through on. Perhaps we will on the other side. Pat also ran the Boilermaker 5K for many years, and was an avid supporter of Utica’s trademark event. What struck me the most about Pat, however, was her love and devotion to her mother, Joan, whom she


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A monthly newspaper published by Local News, Inc. 20,000 copies distributed. To request home delivery ($21 per year), call 315-749-7070.

In Good Health is published 12 times a year by Local News, Inc. © 2019 by Local News, Inc. All rights reserved. Mailing Address: 4 Riverside Drive, Suite 251, Utica, NY 13502 • Phone: 315-749-7070 Email: lou@cnymail.com

Editor & Publisher: Wagner Dotto Associate Editor: Lou Sorendo Contributing Writers: Barbara Pierce, David Podos, Deb Dittner, Daniel Baldwin, Brooke Stacia Demott, Kristopher Light Advertising: Amy Gagliano Layout & Design: Dylon Clew-Thomas Office Assistant: Nancy Nitz 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.

lived with in New Hartford. She always spoke of her mom’s high standards, and provided her with love and companionship as a devoted daughter. Her mom was always atop Pat’s priority list regardless of circumstances. Bon voyage my friend, until we meet again! Editor’s note: Pat’s obituary is at https://www.legacy.com/ obituaries/uticaod/obituary.aspx-?pid=192141653.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Excellus: Telemedicine on rise in Upstate NY


ealth care visits delivered via telemedicine nearly tripled over the past two years in Upstate New York, as awareness and financial support of the option has expanded, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield announced recently. According to a claims-based review of health care services delivered, health plan members made 5,137 telemedicine visits in 2016. In 2018, the number of telemedicine visits among its members jumped to 14,790. “Extrapolating our experience to the state as a whole, we estimate that New Yorkers made more than 180,000 telemedicine visits last year, leading us to the conclusion that this additional method of receiving care is quickly emerging,” said LouAnne Giangreco, vice president and chief medical officer for health care improvement at Excellus BCBS. Private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid pay for health care services delivered via telemedicine. Awareness and acceptance of telemedicine is growing rapidly, according to an online survey of Upstate New York adults conducted by One Research and commissioned for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield earlier this year. Among the 2,004 respondents: — More than 50 percent said they know about telemedicine — Five percent reported to have used it — Among those who have used telemedicine, 93 percent rated the experience favorably — Some 43 percent of all respondents said they would consider using telemedicine in the future. “Telemedicine can help address several health care needs,” said Giangreco. “For many common conditions, it can be used to avoid potentially preventable visits to a hospital emergency room or an urgent care center.” Among a sample of health plan members who used telemedicine last year, about 4 percent reported that method of care helped them avoid using a hospital emergency room. Had the telemedicine option not been available, 55 percent reported that they would have used an urgent care center, 26 percent said they would have seen their primary care physician, 10 percent said they would have delayed getting care, and the remainder chose “other.” “The ideal method of getting care is to see your physician,” said Giangreco. “We suspect a number of telemedicine visits taking place are occurring because patients cannot immediately get appointments for minor conditions and feel they need to address or want to address their issues quickly, otherwise they would wait.” The top medical conditions for which members sought telemedicine treatment were heart disease, hypertension, skin disorders, diabetes, and pneumonia. Page 4


Your Doctor

By Barbara Pierce

Dr. Luis Oceguera Dr. Luis Oceguera is a surgeon at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, in addition to being the associate chief of surgery for the Bassett Healthcare Network. He is also a surgeon at Little Falls Hospital, a subsidiary of the Bassett Healthcare Network. they don’t need your services as a surgeon? A.: People should practice good health choices, such as no smoking, eating more fiber and avoiding processed foods.

Q.: You are a surgeon at Bassett Medical Center as well as associate chief of surgery there. You also perform surgery at Little Falls Hospital. In which type of surgery do you specialize? A.: At Bassett Medical Center, I perform general surgery, specializing in colon and rectal surgery. I utilize both robotic-assisted surgery and laparoscopic surgery. At Little Falls Hospital, I do hernia, ambulatory laparoscopic cases and anorectal surgeries. (Editor’s note: Laparoscopic surgery, also referred to minimally invasive surgery, involves the use of a thin, tubular device called a laparoscope which is inserted through a tiny incision into the abdomen or pelvis to perform operations that required large incisions in the past. Robotic surgery, or robot-assisted surgery, allows doctors to perform many types of complex procedures with more precision, flexibility and control than is possible with conventional techniques. Robotic surgery is usually associated with minimally invasive surgery.) Q.: How did you become interested in surgery and in this type of surgery? A.: I became interested in surgery out of my love for anatomy and pathophysiology. I like that we can alter the way the body works by changing the anatomy. In some cases, we can cure cancer; in other cases, we are often able to improve the patient’s quality of life. (Editor’s note: Pathophysiology focuses on the function and symptoms of diseased organs, generally for purposes of diagnosis and patient care.) Q.: What surgeries or procedures do you do most of? A.: In Little Falls Hospital, I do outpatient surgeries, such as anorectal procedures, (relating to the anus and rectum), hernias and laparoscopic cholecystectomies (gall bladder surgery). I also enjoy doing colonoscopies and upper endoscopies. Colonoscopies are most important as they prevent cancers from developing in patients.

Q.: What issues and challenges are you faced with as associate chief of surgery? A.: The most challenging part of this role is navigating the different needs of patients and matching those needs to surgeons in the clinics, ambulatory surgery sites or at the Bassett Medical Center.

communities. They live in the same towns and make sure their neighbors receive state-of-the-art medicine. Our nurses are also local and they take great pride in caring for their patients like they would their own friends and family. You do not need to travel far from your home to see a surgical specialist. We can see them in clinic in Little Falls Hospital and do their hernia, anorectal, gall bladder or endoscopic procedures in their neighborhood. Q.: Is there anything you recommend people should do differently so

Q.: Why should folks choose the Basset Healthcare Network when they need a procedure or surgery? A.: The Bassett Healthcare Network attracts doctors and advanced practice clinicians who are experts in their fields. They have chosen to practice here so that they can provide their expertise to patients in the rural

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2019

Q.: You are a professor of surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons as well medical director of residents at Bassett. What are some of the things that future physicians need to learn? A.: This is a good question. Future doctors and surgeons need to understand how the health care system in our neighborhood, county, state, as well as on a national level works. We can no longer remain passive participants in this complex and quickly changing health care system. Q.: How did you make the choice to practice in the Mohawk Valley and how do you like living here? A.: I trained at Bassett Medical Center in the general surgery residency. I not only received amazing training, but I also met my wife there. Together, we decided that our goals were aligned with the Bassett mission. We love the area and our partners; it would be difficult to find a better place that fosters the growth of surgeons.

Lifelines Birth year: 1974 Birthplace: Fountain Valley, Calif. (Southern California) Current residence: Cooperstown Education: Bachelor of Science degree, La Sierra University, Riverside, Calif.; Master of Science and medical degrees, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, Calif.; internship and residency, Bassett Medical Center, Cooperstown; fellowship in colon and rectal surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Ind. Personal: Wife, Stephanie Strauss Oceguera; 4-year-old daughter Hobbies: Reading, cycling, running, boating, sketching

The Balanced Body

By Deb Dittner

It’s summer: Keep foodstuffs safe! Don’t let high temperatures ruin your long-awaited summer outing


ell, it’s that time of year when the days are getting longer, and the sun is higher in the sky and feels so deliciously warm on your face. Hooray vitamin D! So get out and clean up the garden, take extra-long walks with your fur baby, and shed some layers. This is also the time of year when you will bring the grill out and picnic on the beach, on a mountaintop, or in your own back yard. With picnicking comes food safety that you Dittner need to be aware of. So pack up the picnic basket with these tips in mind: — Before heading out the door, freeze numerous containers of water. These act as ice packs to keep cold foods cold and can be used as cool tasting water to maintain hydration. It’s important to keep fluids on board during the dog days of summer that feature intense heat and humidity. — Pack plenty of portable foods that do not need refrigeration. If you

will be out picnicking for hours on end, you want to plan ahead and pack foods that are safe to consume at room temperature. Some examples are whole grain crackers with nut butter, dairy-free grain-based salads, hardy fruit salad, and carrots, celery, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, and broccoli with hummus. — Freeze fruit such as grapes and berries ahead of time. These

sweet delicacies are even sweeter when frozen. Consider them as dessert instead of more sugary cookies or brownies that can sit heavy in your stomach. Frozen fruit will also help you to stay cool. — Avoid packing foods that could pose an issue such as raw meats, deli meats, soft cheeses, melon, salads with a mayonnaise base and onions, and hot foods. These can be more prone to bacterial growth in summertime heat. — If you question the safety of a food, throw it out! Food poisoning is the last thing you want to experience at any time whether you’re picnicking in your back yard or away from home. Spoilage can occur quickly, especially when sitting out under the sun for long periods of time. — As the outside temperature rises, it becomes more important to not leave food to sit out for more than one to two hours at a time. If you have brought cold food, keep it cold at a suggested 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Raw foods such as poultry and meat should be separated from produce and cooked foods so as to prevent any cross-contamination. — Bring extra utensils for cooking and serving. Never use the same utensils for raw meat, seafood or

chicken as you would use for preparing produce or ready-to-eat foods. Also, wash utensils thoroughly in warm, soapy water after each use. — Always wash your hands before, during and after preparing food so as not to contaminate. If there are no water sources nearby, be sure to pack hand sanitizer. — To avoid overheating of food and family, find a site in the shade. Picnicking under the shade of a large tree will help in the prevention of heat exhaustion and sunburn. Once out of direct sunlight, your food, skin and health will be safer. — Speaking of sunburn, let’s look at sunscreens. Check out www.ewg.org for the app Healthy Living powered by Skin Deep and Food Scores for the most up-to-date information on sunscreens, cosmetics and food. So let’s get outside and enjoy nature and all it has to offer. Your health requires it! • Deborah Dittner is a family nurse practitioner and health consultant. Her mission is to transform as many individuals as possible through nutrition and lifestyle changes. For more information, check out her website at www.debdittner. com or contact her at 518-596-8565.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Summer fun The wonders of nature Summer is time for family fun in the Great Outdoors By Barbara Pierce


tunning waterfalls, breathtaking mountains, pristine lakes, star-filled skies, family friendly playgrounds, great fishing, tubing and kayaking. Campgrounds in Upstate New York offer something for everyone, from low-key tent sites and RV hookups to luxury cabins with all the amenities. A wealth of camping experiences are available, including federal- and state-operated campgrounds with showers and playgrounds, as well as private campgrounds with swimming pools, Wi-Fi and convenience stores. “From national parks to RV parks, the possibilities are endless,” said Kathy Perry, executive assistant at Herb Philipson’s in Rome. More and more people are camping. Everyone has a different reason for camping. All agree that camping does a body and mind good. Any kind of camping has health benefits. Some are straightforward, like setting up camp or hiking. Mental health improves. Sleeping under the stars helps you get high-quality sleep. Maybe you have concerns about camping. Sleeping on the ground, outside, with no heat or AC sounds intimidating, but we guarantee that it’s worth overcoming. It is about the joy of a simple life, reconnecting with nature and things that really matter. And time away from work contributes to your overall health. You don’t have to throw all sense of comfort and cleanliness out the window to go camping. With the

right gear, it’s easy to transform your campsite into an oasis. Perry and other experts offer suggestions for first-time campers: — Keep it simple: Your first camping trip is not the time to strap on backpacks and head into the wilderness. Start with one or two nights camping near civilization, where your campground has flush toilets, showers, electrical outlets or some of the other comforts of home. — Go with friends and family: Camping with a group is fun. If you have friends and family who are experienced campers, tag along with them on your first campout. They will likely have know-how and equipment to make your trip a suc-

cess. Furthermore, having kids the same age as yours keeps everyone happy. — Consider a trial run: “Practice setting up your tent at home first,” advises Perry. “And don’t forget a properly sized footprint — if you have a ground sheet that’s too small, it won’t fully protect your tent floor, and if it’s too big, it can catch rainwater and pool it underneath your tent.” — Keep food simple: You’ll have plenty of challenges; don’t make food another. Think hot dogs or brats, and plenty of marshmallows to roast. To make s’mores, pack graham crackers and chocolate bars too. “Pack all your kitchen gear in a large clear plastic bin with a lid,” suggests Perry. “It’s easy to store and everything will be ready next time you camp.”

Stress preparedness

— Plan for comfort: Perry advises “bring a warm coat, plus long underwear, gloves, a beanie and warm socks for nighttime, along with a rain jacket just in case. Also pack

some sensible shoes for your feet as well as slip-ons for midnight bathroom breaks.” Use separate air mattresses or pads; singles, not queens or kings, so everyone keeps his or her tossing and turning to themselves. Separate sleeping bags are warmer than doubles. Insulate underneath you or you’ll be cold. If in doubt, lay down a blanket. — Other stuff: “You’ll need prescription medications and hygiene items,” said Perry. “You can bring bandages and medicines from home, but a separate first-aid kit has comprehensive supplies in a compact case. Always plan for sun and prepare for bugs by bringing sunscreen and insect repellent. Because campground bathrooms sometimes run out of supplies, bring your own soap, toilet paper and towels.” — Start out early: When you get to your site, set up your tent, bag and pad early, so you don’t have to do it in the dark, adds Perry. — At your campsite: “Don’t leave food or garbage out overnight, or unattended,” advises Perry. “Seal up everything in a large plastic bin anytime you’re away from camp and lock it in your vehicle at night. In bear country, check the local regulations — there might be food lockers because bears have been known to break into vehicles.” Don’t throw garbage or grey water out near your campsite. — One last word of advice: Don’t expect everything to go perfectly during your first few trips — you will make mistakes! Think of them as learning experiences. If tent camping isn’t your thing, consider an RV, cabin or yurt. Many are in awe-inspiring locations and provide an authentic experience in the forests and parks, surrounded by wildlife viewing opportunities, bountiful recreation and great landscapes. Renting camper trailers through Airbnb is an option. It’s all about getting outside and spending time in our beautiful outdoors. There are many awesome places to choose from, destinations that make this area so special. “Make your reservations well in advance,” concludes Perry. “An online site that covers public lands is Recreation.gov. Private campgrounds can be found in several online sites, or do a Google search.” Read each facility’s description carefully to understand the amenities that are provided so you can be prepared and fully enjoy your stay.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2019

Fraternizing with feathered friends Bird watching brings joy, improved physical and mental health By Barbara Pierce

Now is the most exciting time for birds,” said Andy Mason of Jefferson. “There’s a big flush of migrants in May and early June, before the leaves appear on the trees. There are loads of birds out there.” Mason is co-president of the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society. One of the best things about birds is that they’re everywhere. And even though you may not realize it, you see and hear a wide variety of birds every day while you’re going about your daily life, adding to your well-being. People who live around trees and birds are Mason less likely to have depression, anxiety and stress. Researchers found a positive association between the number of birds in a neighborhood and the mental health of residents. Yes, birds are good for our health. And beyond birds, there are hundreds of studies that show the health benefits of being out in nature. Stress levels drop dramatically. Birding means being in harmony with nature. It requires you to be outdoors, breathing fresh air, absorbing vitamin D, and communicating with nature in your own way. “To me, bird watching is a stress reducer, and relaxing,” added Mason. “And it’s a way to get outside. It’s not a strenuous activity, just slow, deliberate walking, a way to get into the woods.” “It can be a social experience, going with friends or with an organization. I often go alone,” Mason said. “It definitely helps stress and provides moderate exercise.” Mason got hooked on birding as a young man. “My wife and I took a hippie trip, camping in a VW van. In the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia we saw a prothonotary warbler. It was like burnished gold in that dark swamp,” he said. “It knocked me out! I’d never seen a bird like that. Then we saw a pilated woodpecker, a big bird with a red head. That knocked me out too. I was hooked! Now it’s my passion and I enjoy it,” he exclaimed. Another bird enthusiastic is Bob Burns of Ilion. “I’ve always had an interest in birds, since my early 20s. It’s a lot of fun,” Burns said. He agrees it’s good for one’s health. “Just getting outside is a big benefit,” he said. “We’ve been feeding birds for the 40 years we’ve lived here in the woods. It’s exciting to see who else has shown up. We have Baltimore orioles — they love the oranges we put out for them — rose-breasted grosbeaks and many more.

Birding in his blood

Burns, who was staff photographer for Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown for 36 years, enjoys taking photos of the birds in his back yard as well as on field trips with the Kirkland Bird Club. His favorite places for birding are Spring Farm CARES in Clinton and the Utica Marsh. “There are all sorts of birds at Utica Marsh,” said Steve Heerkens, biologist with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. “Utica Marsh is a shrub habitat, for species that like that habitat — like the gray cat bird, fly catcher, and cardinals. And there are water fowl such as wood ducks, mallard ducks, lesser bittern, and herons, even eagles and osprey — lots of good bird watching.” “There’s a new observation tower,” Heerkens added. “It’s easy to get to. A long walk, but an easy walk.” “For me, the excitement about birds is year-round,” says Amy Chillag, CNN online. “Few things pull me out of a funk like the sudden appearance of a bluebird in my back yard, the vivid blue against a green magnolia tree like an exclamation point.” “I scramble for binoculars to get a closer look, and as I turn the focus wheel, my cloudy, scattered mind refocuses, too. The tiny indigo beauty rewards me with a chest puff, a rust-colored breast popping against the brilliant blue. “The sound of bird song and rustling leaves lead me to take a deep sip of fresh air, and the tightness in my chest disappears. My low spirits lift for now. I look skyward for the next flutter.” In addition, there are the health benefits of birding in a group, since social connections are key to a long, healthy life. Sharing a hobby you’re passionate about can connect you to others. For most, bird watching in a group is more fun than going out alone. Burns greatly enjoys the trips with the Kirkland Bird Club. If you’re just getting started with birding, Mason suggests the website of the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society at http://doas.us/, or the Hudson Mohawk Bird Club at https:// www.hmbc.net/. Information on the Kirkland Bird Club in New York Mills can be found on Facebook. Consider getting a bird identification book or download an app like Cornell University’s Merlin Bird ID or Audubon Bird Guide. For more information, visit https://bobburnsphotography.myportfolio.com. There’s a huge birding community awaiting you and boundless good health!

Red breasted Grosbeak

‘To me, bird watching is a stress reducer and relaxing. And it’s a way to get outside.’

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 7

Men’s Health The Bro Code Is it still the ‘bro code’ or Code Blue? By Kristopher Light


hether you say guy code or bro code, every man knows the rules of being a guy. You always try to stand one urinal away, you can never cry in public, always have a friend’s back in a fight, and many more. As men, we feel we belong to this special group of Spartans who can never show pain or any weakness. This includes not going to the doctors and just dealing with pain or symptoms quietly, but are these codes of manhood affecting our health more than we think? I interviewed 25 men and 25 women of different ages, marital statuses, and education levels. I asked them a number of questions about how they see doctors versus friends and to what levels they feel comfortable talking to each group and why. To be honest, the results were very surprising to me, but after I took a second look, it started making a lot of sense. During my research, women did tend to talk to their girlfriends about what medical issues they have, they also told doctors about something if

they were worried, and would tend to prefer their doctor to be a woman. It felt like a strong sisterhood that is supportive and extends as far as the medical profession. When it came to the men, it got a lot more interesting — the biggest variable I found was age. Men who were around 45 and up definitely felt part of the “bro code” or “guy code” involved not bothering anyone with your issues. This lead to a lot of answers like “I haven’t seen a doctor in a few years” or “I’ve waited over a year or two with a symptom before i told a doctor.” In this case, I would say it seems this “code of man” seems to have a negative effect on society. In at least one case, it lead to someone needing surgery because they waited so long to tell a doctor about heart pain they felt. The second biggest group was guys between 21 and 36; these guys had a very interesting viewpoint. When we think of a “bro code,” we think of all of these silly rules that show guys how to be guys. It’s a “how to be a man for dummies” that every guy seems to learn. What was so interesting was that

younger men seemed to see the “bro code” differently than older men. This “young man’s bro code” seemed to be more of a guide to friendship, a set of rules of how to be friends with other guys and what that all entails. Most of the younger guys I spoke to said they often talk to other male friends about medical, psychological and even emotional issues.

Safe ground

It’s seen as a “man-to-man” conversation or a safe place. It’s almost like a vacuum universe that does not exist in our normal universe; it’s one where men are allowed to be open about themselves. The weird thing is when it came to going to the doctor, almost all of the older men said they don’t go to the doctors often at all and won’t tell them about a symptom until it’s almost too late. Also most of the older men said that they like their doctor and enjoy how they are spoken to, but because of this relationship, it makes the doctor seem like a friend, so they feel the older “bro code” rules still apply — one where you don’t bother others with problems. When it came to younger people, they also said they don’t go to the doctor a lot, but will if friends advise them to or if no one knows anything

about the symptom. They are basically saying they want to make sure they are OK, but also that they didn’t like talking to their doctor. It seems younger men tend to think they don’t feel comfortable with how their doctor acts or speaks to them and it doesn’t feel like a place to be completely open unless they absolutely need to. So is the guy code turning us into “code blue” situations? Well, yes and no. It seems to be for older men and somewhat for younger men, but in general, seems to be a lot less of a big deal than previously assumed. Young men still don’t feel comfortable seeing the doctor and this maybe comes from doctors using a bedside manner that worked well with a different generation but nowadays doesn’t fit as well in the male paradigm. If doctors and younger guys can meet in the middle with how they both communicate and if guys can keep their safe zones with fellow bros, then this major issue might not be such an issue at all. Meanwhile, we all just need to remember to talk to friends about what is bothering us, and to go to a doctor if a symptom is persistent or causing us any distress. The No. 1 rule is never Google a symptom because neither you nor Google, nor WebMD, is a real doctor.

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Page 8

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2019

Men’s Health Between You and Me

By Barbara Pierce

The beleaguered sports referee ‘Zebras’ are often the target of sports enthusiasts’ scorn

I love this part!” my granddaughter Crystal exclaimed to me with a big smile, then gave a loud blast on her whistle. “Out of bounds!” she called to the volleyball players, with a confidence in her voice that I had never heard. High school senior Crystal is taking a sports officiating class. She invited me to watch a volleyball game where she would be the student referee. As I watched, I was happy to see a side of her emerging that I had nevPierce er seen. Normally shy and hanging back, now she was out there, making the calls, her coach by her side, encouraging her. It seems that wearing the uniform and being expected to act in a certain way was working for her. She is learning so much more than how to call fouls and the rules of the gain. Learning much more than gaining confidence. She is learning valuable life lessons both on the court or field and off. “Life lessons can be found in the oddest places, like the well-manicured soccer fields that are my domain most weekends,” says an unnamed youth coach referee online. “It’s a shame the behavior of the parents, coaches, and players who populate these fields aren’t as well-manicured. More often than not, the opposite is true. “They are conditioned to dislike me. But that’s precisely the reason I’ve learned lessons that will help me

in all facets of life. Some are obvious: teamwork, leadership, nerve, certitude and daring. It taught me the value of hard work, responsibility, grit, and, most of all, standing firm when I’m all alone.” “As a soccer referee, it’s been an adventure in learning,” says George Gately online at Referee.com. “What began as a way to get exercise and earn extra dollars has been a virtual advanced degree in human relations. It’s benefited every area of my life. Lessons on the exercise of authority, handling mistakes, teamwork, human nature and life goals have been the unanticipated perquisites of refereeing.” Serving as a referee means learning many things — most apply not just to sports, but also to life. From Gately and others, here are some of the life lessons that Crystal will be learning: — Be flexible. A good referee needs to adapt to the day’s game. Remain flexible and embrace change. You can’t control the unexpected. Be prepared to expect the unexpected.

Deal with own mistakes

— Sometimes you’re wrong. Mistakes happen; handle them quickly. Every referee notches a few in every game. Be happy if you walk away with few and minor mistakes. Major mistakes haunt good referees for weeks. Big or small, mistakes are the vehicles that can carry you to the next level. — Be accountable, evaluate, decide and move on. Own up to your mistakes. — Evaluate the error quickly. Don’t become fixated on it and don’t

allow it to contaminate the game. Answer the questions, “What happened?” and “Why did it happen?” Decide on a simple strategy to avoid repeating the same mistake and move on. Everyone else wants to put it behind them. Don’t be the one who keeps it alive. Whatever you do, don’t try to “even the score” by a misguided make-up call. — Don’t dwell on any mistake. That leads to more, and greater, errors. — Not everybody will like what you decide. You can’t please everybody, and in a game, somebody is going to be angry at your decision. Parents, coaches, or players often disagree with calls. Some of them can get quite nasty and irate. Was it offside or not? Was it a foul or not? Despite others’ “perspectives” on important referee tasks like foul recognition, player management, game flow and conflict management, the game must go on. — Remember that it’s not about you. Few of us enjoy being screamed and cursed at. However, such is the

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fate of sports officials. Not to please everyone, or to make others happy, or to justify every decision, but to ensure a safe, fair, enjoyable game is the referee’s job. Enforcing the rules is the best method available to that end. Just because people are screaming, criticizing or calling into question your native intelligence does not mean you are doing poorly. In fact, it may mean just the opposite. — Expect disagreement from time to time, but don’t look for it. Try to get comfortable with the discomfort, realizing it’s a necessary part of being in charge of the game. — Find a way to have fun. Take what you do seriously, but never take yourself seriously. There is very little that is worth doing if you’re not having fun. Having fun needs to be an important part of your life.

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June 2019 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 9

Go Red!

Organization strives to help in preventing heart disease, stroke in women By Daniel Baldwin


ennifer Keida runs day-to-day operations for the Standard Insulating Company in Marcy, and she also holds board positions for a few national and local organizations. But the one group that Keida heavily invests in is the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign. Go Red, according to goredforwomen.org, is a national movement to raise awareness of heart disease. A majority of the group is made up of heart disease and stroke survivors. Keida lost her grandmother from this disease and has a weak heart. So she joined this group as a way to honor her grandmother and figure out how to keep her heart healthy. “I got involved because I actually had a heart issue myself,” Keida said. “It’s a genetic issue, so it’s not associated with exercise and food. But because my heart is weaker than most hearts, I pay more attention to it than a normal woman would. So I got involved because of my heart issue that I had, and my grandmother recently passed away from heart disease, and seeing the people that it affects around me made it be my No. 1 push in the community.” Keida is the campaign chairwoman for the group. Each year, Keida

and the rest of the Go Red members try to empower other women and educate them on heart disease through social media and at many events, fundraisers, and festivals throughout New York state. Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for women, according to Keida, and it is just as more dangerous than any form of cancer. “Cardiovascular disease claims the life of one woman every 80 seconds,” Keida said. “A woman you know and love may be affected by heart disease or stroke at any age. Heart disease claims more women’s lives each year than all forms of cancer combined. A third of women will die of cardiovascular disease.” But it is avoidable. Keida said heart disease and strokes are 80 percent preventable, while the other 20 percent is genetic. All women need to do is exercise regularly, eat healthy, do not smoke, and most importantly, check to see if their heart is pumping at a normal rate.

Focus on basics

“Everyone’s overall health improves when you eat better and exercise,” Keida said. “Instead of taking the stairs, take the elevator. Add fruits and vegetables to every meal. From my years of being involved, I think for women the biggest issue

Murdock is that they don’t pay attention to themselves. They can still eat right and exercise, but the biggest issue is recognizing that something is wrong, and doing something about it. Go see your doctor, and let them tell you what you need to do.” As a way to celebrate Go Red members’ hard work and efforts in warning people about the disease, the foundation hosted a luncheon at the Harts Hill Inn in Whitesboro recently. It is the 15th year that the group has hosted this luncheon in the Mohawk Valley. “It’s remarkable to host this luncheon in the Mohawk Valley,” Keida said. “We have people from all types of businesses and backgrounds that all come together and work really hard to outreach to as many women as possible.” While this year’s luncheon was a


Always have sneakers near the front door or at your desk for a quick, brisk walk during the day.

Page 10

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2019

celebration for Go Red and a health class, it was also a time for the survivors of heart disease and stroke to share their stories of survival. Cheryl Murdock is one of those survivors and the guest speaker at this year’s luncheon. Murdock lives in Arizona, but grew up in New Hartford. She discovered the symptoms of her disease when she was 11 years old. “I was in gym class, and I was doing squat thrusts,” Murdock said. “I started feeling chest pain, got really dizzy, and I couldn’t catch my breath. Those were my symptoms.” Murdock later found out that she had heart disease, but fortunately doctors found a heart donor for her and she had a successful transplant. “I was standing in my dressing room when my phone rang,” Murdock said. “It was my doctor, who said these words that I will never forget: ‘We have a heart for you, and I really hope you’ll come in because it is a very good heart.’” The heart Murdock received was from a 14-year-old girl named Morgan Gallegos. Murdock had the chance meet Gallegos’ family in person last year in San Francisco and learn a little more about the donor’s hobbies. “I had written my thank you letter,” Murdock said, “and I responded to them with the address they gave me. I also got an email address from them, and her (Morgan’s) father and I started an email correspondence through the years, and it just so happened that last year we actually met. “ They told me all about their daughter, and I told them how I got her heart. I could not thank them enough for meeting me and giving me my future.”

War on Opioids In midst of raging epidemic, health care industry has tighter rein on medication By Barbara Pierce


e’ve seen a staggering increase in opiate painkiller abuse over the past decade. New York, like many states, is suffering the consequences of an opioid epidemic. Every day on the news, we hear horror stories of young people dying, small children sadly neglected, and families ripped apart. Most of us know someone seriously affected by opiate abuse. Opioids are a class of drugs that include the synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievBlack ers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others. They are chemically similar to heroin. Pain is the No. 1 one reason people see a doctor or go to the emergency room. Opioids are often used to treat pain because they work so well. Opioids can stop the body from processing pain on many levels, from the skin to the brain. Because they work throughout the body, they are extremely effective for multiple types of pain. But they are highly addictive: the more people take them, the more they crave them. This can lead to addiction, or continuing to take

opioids despite negative consequences. Scientists have not yet been able to develop opioids that reduce pain without producing addicting effects. The risks of opioid use are well established. Research has found that taking opioids for more than a few days increases your risk of long-term use, which increases your risk of addiction. Research also finds that about one in four patients on opioids for extended periods will at some point use them in ways other than as intended, with as many as 10 percent developing addiction. The longer someone takes opioids, the more they may need to take to get the same effect. This is called building tolerance. Having a high tolerance doesn’t always mean you’ll become addicted. But taking higher doses of opioids increases the risk for both addiction and overdose. Many who become addicted have turned to heroin as a “more affordable” alternative once their doctor stops prescribing and buying pills on the street becomes too costly. This is especially true of those who receive an opioid prescription as a teenager.

Mental Health Dealing safely with pain Things you can do if you’re prescribed an opioid: — Ask if there are ways besides opioids to relieve your pain. — Make sure your health care provider knows about all other medications you are taking. — Let your health care provider know if you or others in your family have had any problems with addiction, such as with alcohol, prescription medications, or illicit drugs. — Ask about the risks of taking an opioid. — Ask how to take the opioid and how long you should take it. — Never use alcohol when taking an opioid. — Store opioids in a safe place out of sight and out of reach of children, preferably in a locked cabinet. — Dispose of leftover prescription medicine quickly and properly. Source: National Institutes of Health

Kirby Black, emergency department medical director at Oneida Healthcare, explained how the emergency department handles this issue.

have a complaint that involves pain,” he said. “There are many modalities to deal with pain. In the emergency department, these are mostly going to involve medications.” “In all situations, opiates are the last resort for pain,” he explained. “These medications are typically reserved for acute severe pain. “There is no perfect pain medication. All pain medications have side effects or toxicity issues that need to be considered.” Other medications may be just as effective for acute pain, even after surgery. The general alternatives are Tylenol, ibuprofen or naproxen. Some of these drugs, like Tylenol or ibuprofen, don’t require a prescription. People may think that prescription drugs work better for acute pain, but that’s often not the case. “In the emergency department, I also often use lidocaine patches as well. And there are other options for topical preparations available, including several over-the-counter medications,” he said.

Q.: You see many patients in pain. What do you prescribe for pain? A.: “The vast majority of patients we see in the emergency department

Q.: What is the health community doing to curb opioid dependency? A.: “There are many steps which the health community is taking to

ED doctor weighs in

curb opioid dependency,” said Black. “Opioid prescriptions are monitored much more closely than any other prescription. Each state has a database that tracks narcotic prescriptions so physicians and pharmacists can be aware of potential dependency issues. “Over the past few years, there has been increased awareness of the epidemic which also includes mandatory education that is required by almost all states with license renewal,” he added. “We at Oneida Healthcare are taking steps to track and review the rate of prescriptions, as well as providing education and encouraging the use of non-opioid medications when possible.” Q.: What do you think about using naloxone to reverse an opioid overdose? A.: Naloxone is a lifesaving medication that reverses the effects of narcotics when given right away, Black explained. “I have used it many times in the emergency department, and it is used often by paramedics to save the life of someone who has overdosed. I also prescribe naloxone for patients to have around if they overdose. Even if it is not used on them, it may benefit another person.”

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@HearingLossAssociation June 2019 •



IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 11


By Anne Palumbo

The skinny on healthy eating

The wonders of watermelon


lthough National Watermelon Day falls on Aug. 3, we’re featuring watermelon today because warm weather, picnics, the Fourth of July, and all things summery are but weeks away. And what’s more summery than a cool, refreshing slice of watermelon? Despite the popular belief that watermelon is just water and sugar, this delicious fruit is actually soaked with nutrients. Each juicy bite has significant amounts of vitamins A and C, modest amounts of potassium and fiber and varying levels of many more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Not so surprisingly, however, watermelon’s most abundant nutrient is water: 92%. An essential nutrient to overall good health, water does so much more than just quench our thirst. Even though it provides no calories or organic nutrients, our body uses water in all its cells, organs and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions. In addition, because we lose water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it’s important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods — like watermelon — that brim with water. Water also helps our body remove waste through perspiration, urination and defecation. Ever experience unusually dark urine? Stools as hard as marbles? Most likely, you’re not getting enough water, which helps the kidneys, liver and intestines flush out waste. And while there is no evidence to prove that upping your fluid intake will cure constipation, consuming adequate water does help prevent constipation by keeping stools soft and moving things along at a steady clip. Drinking fluids and eating foods like watermelon — during or after a meal — actually aids digestion. Water is needed in our mouth for saliva, which begins the digestive process, and further needed in our stomach to assist enzymes that help break down food so our body can absorb the nutrients. This all-important nutrient is also essential for digesting soluble fiber — the type of fiber that slows

digestion and nutrient absorption. So, whether we eat watermelon during or after a meal, we’re giving our digestive system a healthy boost! But the claim-to-fame nutrient that has recently elevated watermelon to “super fruit” status — the nutrient that seems to be all over the news lately for its purported health perks — is lycopene, a plant-produced phytonutrient. A powerful antioxidant that gives watermelon its characteristic red hue, lycopene, like all phytonutrients, appears to be beneficial to human health and help prevent certain diseases. Furthermore, according to the Watermelon Board, watermelon contains more lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. Why the limelight on lycopene? In a nutshell, current research indicates a strong association between high intake of lycopene-rich foods, such as watermelon, and reduced risk of certain cancers (most notably prostate cancer according to the National Cancer Institute), heart disease, chronic inflammation and stroke. In a report just published in the journal “Neurology,” Finnish researchers suggested that lycopene, in addition to its ability to attack cancer-causing free radicals, may also reduce inflammation and cholesterol, improve immune function, and pre-

vent blood from clotting. All of these benefits, they emphasized, may help reduce ischemic strokes, the most common kind, that are caused by blockages in blood flow to the brain. Does eating a slice of watermelon a day keep sunburn at bay? Many studies say yes, thanks (again!) to its lycopene, which has been shown to offer some protection against UV-induced sunburn. While scientists caution that the level of protection in no way replaces sunscreen, they do note that since most sun exposures occur during activities when our skin is totally unprotected — such as walking to and from our car — dietary factors with sun-protecting properties might have a considerable beneficial effect. Watermelon’s antioxidant properties are further bolstered by impressive concentrations of two important vitamins: A and C. Both gobble up harmful free radicals associated with a host of age-related diseases and also boost the immune system’s defenses against infections and diseases. Individually, vitamin A is essential for growth and healthy vision, while vitamin C is a tissue-builder and wound-healer. What’s more, this quintessential summer snack is a dieter’s dream food, delivering a mere 40 calories per diced cup. It’s filling, too, thanks

to its high water content. Worried about cholesterol, fat or sodium? Watermelon happily scores a big goose egg in those departments. Watermelon’s sweet flavor suggests it’s loaded with sugar and carbs. It’s not. As a comparison, a cup of watermelon has around 9 grams of sugar — about the same as a small fresh fruit, half banana or one cup of berries — and only 11 grams of carbs. Like other fruits, watermelon has a mix of carbohydrates: natural fruit sugar (fructose, a simple carb) and fiber (a different kind of carb). While refined foods, like many breads, pastries and sweets, also have simple carbs, their carbs are not healthy because they’ve been stripped of nearly all their fiber, vitamins and minerals. This “refinement” causes the carbs to be digested quickly and have a high glycemic index, which then leads to rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. Eating refined foods that are high on the glycemic index has been linked to drastically increased risk of many diseases, including obesity, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes. Watermelon has a high glycemic index, but because it’s low in carbs and boasts some fiber, it does not have the same affect on blood sugar, as, say, eating a donut. However, it’s still important for people with diabetes to be aware of the sugar and carb content of any fruit and to avoid eating excessive amounts of it. According to the American Diabetic Association, watermelon is safe for diabetics to eat in small amounts and is best eaten alongside foods that contain plenty of healthful fats, fiber, and protein.

Anne Palumbo is a lifestyle colum-

nist, 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 avpalumbo@aol.com.

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Page 12

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2019

The incredible vagus nerve

Ask The Social

Security Office

Cranial nerve linked to peace of mind, happiness

From the Social Security District Office

By David L. Podos


Navigating through the Medicare process


ffordable medical coverage is something everyone wants, especially as people age. Luckily, our nation has safeguards for workers as they get older. Millions of people rely on Medicare, and it can be part of your health insurance plan when you retire. Medicare is available for people age 65 or older, as well as younger people who have received Social Security disability benefits for 24 months, and people with certain specific diseases. Two parts of Medicare are Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (Medicare insurance). You are eligible for premium-free Part A if you are age 65 or older and you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. Part B usually requires a monthly premium payment. You can apply online for Medicare even if you are not ready to retire. Use our online application to sign up. It takes less than 10 minutes. In most cases, once your application is submitted electronically, you’re done. There are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required. Social Security will process your application and contact you if we need more information. Otherwise, you’ll receive your Medicare card in the mail. You can sign up for Medicare at

www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/ medicare. If you don’t sign up for Medicare during your initial enrollment window that begins three months before the birthday that you reach age 65 and ends three months after that birthday, you’ll face a 10 percent increase in your Part B premiums for every year-long period you’re eligible for coverage but don’t enroll. You may not have to pay the penalty if you qualify for a special enrollment period (SEP). If you are 65 or older and covered under a group health plan, either from your own or your spouse’s current employment, you may have a special enrollment period during which you can sign up for Medicare Part B. This means that you may delay enrolling in Part B without having to wait for a general enrollment period and without paying the lifetime penalty for late enrollment. Additional rules and limits apply, so if you think a special enrollment period may apply to you, read our Medicare publication at www. socialsecurity.gov/pubs/, and visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at Medicare.gov for more information. Social Security is here to help you plan a long and happy retirement at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Subscribe to In Good Health Get Mohawk Valley’s health care newspaper at home for only $21 a year.

he Vagus nerve is the longest and most pervasive of all the 12 cranial nerves in the human body. It is responsible for many physical functions and health, and in large part, to how we feel emotionally and psychologically. According to Anna Hunt of Natural Blaze, some research indicates that a healthy vagus nerve is important to social bonding and empathy, as well as our ability to make complex decisions. “Clearly, the vagus nerve plays a critical role in our bodies, hence it is also vital to our well-being. People with impaired vagal activity can suffer from depression, panic disorders, anxiety, mood swings and chronic fatigue. Physically, vagal imbalance can result in irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, heartburn, unhealthy heart rate, and chronic inflammation to name a few ailments,” mentions Hunt. From the website: Meditation can have a positive effect on the vagus nerve, according to the website Buddhism Weekly. In meditation, rather than transmitting orders flowing from your brain to your body, the vagus nerve is instead taking some very strong suggestions from the body back to the brain. And, nine times out of 10, the brain listens. By lowering your breathing rate through meditation, your nerve notes that things must be calm — you have no reason to be breathing hard and fast, and must therefore be able to relax. Of course, science and medicine also recognize the importance of the vagus nerve and its implications on heath. Jameel Arastu is a board-certified neurologist who graduated from medical school in India in 1980. “I became a pediatrician first, then I went on to do neurology. After receiving my medical degree in neurology, I joined Slocum-Dickson Medical Group in New Hartford in 1995 and have been here ever since,” Arastu said the vagus nerve as

it is often called is also referred to as the vagabond nerve because it is a rather extensive nerve starting in the lower part of the brain, going through the neck, passing the heart and throat, and extending all the way down into the abdomen. “So, if you look at its ramifications and the common things it does are, it controls your ability to swallow and to talk. It also has control of your heart, it tends to slow down the heart rate, and then it goes into the stomach, where it controls stomach movements and acid production so you don’t use as much acid,” he said. “Then, the nerve goes all the way down to the gut where it controls gut movement.” Arastu mentions that disorders of the vagus nerve are not very common but can occur. “For instance, it can happen if you have thyroid surgery. If you have neck surgery, there might be a possibility of damage to the nerve. What we do as neurologists is stimulate the nerve. This is called vagus nerve stimulation,” he said. With nerve stimulation, for example, one of the things Arastu can do is help a patient minimize seizures. A surgeon will perform surgery and place an implant just under the skin above the clavicle. That devise is programmable and Arastu has the technology to send small electrical impulses to the devise that stimulates the nerve. “We also have a special magnet that we use that the patient wears on their wrist. The magnet is then placed over the implanted devise whenever a patient feels they might be having a seizure,” he noted. “This sends a mild electrical current into the devise and into the nerve, and helps the patient to prevent seizures.” Remarkably, mystics believe that the vagus nerve is the intersection between our conscious and unconscious minds, the physical and the subtle bodies. Therefore, the vagus nerve may be the most relevant part of our physical body that relates to peace of mind and happiness.

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Health Careers Beth Aust Nurse at Integrative Medicine of Central New York also seconds as health coach education. Also, I work the infusion room. We specialize in infusion (delivering medication intravenously) such as Vitamin C and other vitamins.

By Barbara Pierce


eth Aust loves coming to work each day. She is enthusiastic about every aspect of her position as registered nurse and board-certified health coach at Integrative Medicine of Central New York in Chittenango. Integrative Medicine of Central New York opened in September 2018 and provides a holistic approach that merges conventional and natural practices, empowering patients to tap into their own healing ability. Q.: How does being a nurse at Integrative Medicine differ from nursing in a traditional medical practice? A.: The biggest difference here in this office is that we’re encouraged to spend more time with each patient. Our doctors sometimes spend up to two hours with a new patient. After the doctor sees the patient, I see the patient to further explain things, make sure they understand their patient plan, and do lab work. We take time to look at the whole person — their relationships, career,

Aust nutrition, and spiritual beliefs — all the things that influence a person’s health. As we are “integrative,” we combine traditional medical practices with alternatives, like herbal supplements. We are integrative, not alternative. We work together with the patient’s primary health care provider. As a nurse, I triage phone calls or information from the patient portal, do specialty lab work, and patient

“I had cancer...

cancer never had me.” Meet Tracy: Mother, patient, advocate and blessed!

Q.: What drew you to a nursing career? A.: My mom was a nurse; I saw how much she loves her career. She was very compassionate and I wanted to be like her. I knew in high school I wanted to be a nurse, so in my last two years of high school, I trained to become a licensed practical nurse. I worked as an LPN for eight years and then became a registered nurse in 2001. Q.: How did you become a health coach? Over the course of my career, I grew more curious about holistic health and wanted to focus on prevention. I became a board-certified holistic health coach through an online course at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Also, I studied energy healing and am a reiki practitioner. When Integrative Medicine opened last August, I saw its ad. I was drawn to their holistic approach, with a mind-body-spirit connection. It was a wonderful coincidence; everything came together for me. Q.: What makes this a great job for you? A.: I love the people I work with. It’s a small practice and we have great relationships with each other. I really like coming to work. Dr. Heidi Puc is the founder. She was a conventional hematologist and oncologist. Now she specializes in Lyme disease and oncology, as well as general wellness. Our other doctor, Amy Lazzarini, was a conventional gastroenterologist. Now she specializes in gastroenterology, hormones, wellness, and Lyme disease. Our office is tranquil, beautiful,

Q.: How is it that you’re able to spend so much time with each patient? A.: We are a direct-pay office; we don’t accept insurance. Q.: There is increasing awareness regarding Lyme disease. What should we know about this? A.: We have a big focus on Lyme disease. The majority of patients we see here have been ill with debilitating symptoms for months or even years. If tick-borne infections are not diagnosed or treated early, people can develop severe symptoms that don’t go away. Getting treatment right after a tick bite prevents the bacteria from spreading to joints, organs, the central nervous system, and elsewhere. If a tick bites you, our doctors can evaluate you and recommend testing and treatment. They can also remove ticks in the office and will provide information on where to have the tick tested if you wish to do so. The best way to treat Lyme disease is to prevent it! Avoid ticks by staying out of densely wooded areas, wear long sleeves, long pants and use a non-chemical insect repellent, such as essential oils or garlic oil.

Specialists in Integrative Oncology, Gastroenterology, Acute Tick Bites & Treatment of Lyme Disease.

“When I was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer in 2004, I was a single mom. So when I received my diagnosis, I thought, ‘This, too?’ I was shocked. A friend introduced me to HOA. At HOA, cancer wears a face, and not a number. Let me explain.”

Heidi S. Puc - MD,FACP,ABIHM Amy Lazzarini - MD, MSHS Heidi Baldwin - MS, RMT

To read more about Tracy’s story, and HOA, visit


and calming. Especially our infusion room — patients love it! With a fireplace and beautiful windows, patients immediately feel relaxed. They love it here. It’s a very welcoming, peaceful environment. Another thing that makes me happy here is that our patients are happy — they are in awe! They are so grateful that they are given the time. Conventional doctors just don’t have the time. Patients are given the time here; the doctor reviews all of their records. I’ve seen doctors who haven’t even looked at my records before they saw me. Word of mouth is spreading about us; patients are super excited when they find out we’re here.

Integrative Gastroenterology Integrative Lyme Disease Treatment Mold Related Illness (CIRS)

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2019

By Jim Miller

The long-term care benefit many vets are missing out on Dear Savvy Senior, I have heard that the VA has a benefit that can help veterans and spouses with long-term care costs. We recently had to move my 86-year-old father — who served in the army nearly 60 years ago — into an assisted living facility, and my mom isn’t far behind. Can the VA help?

Seeking Aid Dear Seeking, The Veterans Administration does indeed have a little-known, underutilized benefit that can help wartime veterans and their surviving spouses pay for a variety of longterm care costs. This benefit, called “Aid and Attendance,” is a special pension that’s paid in addition to a basic pension. It pays a maximum of $2,230 a month to married veterans; $1,881 a month to single veterans; or $1,209 a month to a surviving spouse. The money is tax free, and can be used to pay for in-home care, assisted living and nursing home care. Today, only around 230,000 veterans and survivors receiving Aid and Attendance, but millions more are eligible and either don’t know about it, or don’t think they can qualify for it.

Eligibility requirements

To qualify, your dad must have served at least 90 days of active military service with at least one day of service during a period of war, and not have been discharged dishonorably. Single surviving spouses of wartime vets are eligible if their marriage ended due to death. In addition, your dad will also have to meet certain thresholds for medical and financial need to be eligible. To qualify medically he must be either disabled, or over the age of 65 and need help with basic everyday living tasks such as eating, dressing, bathing or going to the bathroom. Being blind or in a nursing home or assisted living facility due to mental disability also qualifies him. Single surviving spouses have no age restrictions, but they must require help with basic everyday living tasks to be eligible. To qualify financially, your parents must have limited assets, under $127,061, excluding their home, vehicle and personal belongings. And their annual income (minus medical and long-term care expenses) cannot exceed the

Maximum Allowable Pension Rate (MAPR), which in 2019 is $26,766 for a veteran and their spouse; $22,577 for a single veteran; and $14,509 for a surviving spouse. To calculate your parent’s income qualifications, add up their income over the past year (including Social Security, pensions, interest income from investments, annuities, etc.), minus any out-of-pocket medical expenses, prescription drugs, insurance premiums and long-term care costs over that same period of time. If the final tally is under the MAPR, and he meets the other requirements, he should be eligible for aid.

Upstate can provide all the comprehensive treatment and support you need at our offices in Oneida, or if needed, at the Upstate Cancer Center in Syracuse. Our patients benefit from: • Over 25 years experience in treating patients in Oneida. • A full complement of treatment options including radiation oncology. • Access to the latest advances including immunotherapy, molecular targeted therapy and clinical trials.

How to apply

To learn more or to apply for Aid and Attendance, contact your regional VA benefit office (see Benefits.va.gov/benefits/offices.asp or call 800–827–1000) where you can apply in person. You can also apply by writing the Pension Management Center for your state (see Benefits. va.gov/pension/resources-contact. asp). You’ll need to include evidence, like VA Form 21-2680 (VA.gov/ vaforms) which your dad’s doctor can fill out that shows his need for Aid and Attendance. If you need some help, you can appoint a Veteran Service Officer (VSO), a VA-accredited attorney or claims agent to represent your dad. See www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/ vso-search to locate someone. If your dad is eligible, it will take between six and 12 months for his application to be processed, so be patient. You should also know that if your dad’s Aid and Attendance application is approved, the VA will send a lump sum retroactive payment covering the time from the day you filed the application until the day it was approved. Then your dad receives monthly payments going forward. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior. org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

• The same multidisciplinary case review as those treated at the Upstate Cancer Center in Syracuse, the area’s only academic medical center.


Rabies vaccination clinics scheduled


he Oneida County Health Department is scheduling rabies vaccination clinics throughout the year. The next clinic is set for 6-7:30 p.m. June 6 at Boonville Fairgrounds. Clinics are also scheduled for: — July 1: Annsville Highway Garage, 5-6:30 p.m. — July 25: Rome Kennedy Arena, 6-7:30 p.m. — Aug. 5: Vienna Highway Garage, 5-6:30 p.m. — Sept. 10: Back to Basics Dog Obedience, Forestport, 6-7:30 p.m. Dogs need to be on a leash, and

June 2019 •

cats need to be in a carrier or laundry basket. All cats, dogs and ferrets 3 months or older must have a current rabies vaccination, even if they stay indoors. Dogs and cats need to be vaccinated at 3 months old, 1 year, and the once every three years. Ferrets must be vaccinated every year. Pets will receive a one-year certificate if no prior proof of rabies is shown. A $10 donation per pet is requested to help cover costs. Pre-register for clinic dates by calling 315-798-5064.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 15

Business Spotlight Zalatan Dental: Modern Dentist Zalatan Dental: Modern Dentist is located at 2607 Genesee St., Utica. It is a patient-oriented dental practice with a strong team approach that is dedicated to providing excellence in dental care and committed to forward-thinking ideas. Both Dr. Justin Zalatan and Dr. Salina Suy offer a wide range of dental services from cosmetic and restorative dentistry, to Botox injections and implantology. By David L. Podos Q.: The Zalatan Dental: Modern Dentist practice emphasizes its use of high-end technology. How does that set you apart from other dentists in the area? A.: Zalatan Dental: Modern Dentist prides itself on being an innovative, patient-focused dental practice. We adapt and treat our patients based on the latest science and offer a wide array of dental services such as but not limited to implant surgery, 3-D imaging, root canal therapy, sleep apnea treatment, and Botox injections. As modern dentists, Zalatan and Suy strive to treat patients’ oral health comprehensively while making sure they are comfortable and educated about their treatment. Q.: Dr. Suy joined the practice recently. What skills does she bring? A.: Dr. Suy is a young modern dentist who emphasizes patient education and has a deep passion for implantology, oral surgery, as well as cosmetic dentistry. Not only is she highly educated, but she is hospital-trained and cares for her patients as a new member of this community. Q.: How important are the roles of other team members such as receptionists and dental hygienists to the day-to-day operation of the practice? Can you describe their impact on patients? A.: The Zalatan Dental team is a family. Each and every person plays an important role in our patient care. We function as a team to help build healthy, trusting relationships. Together, we train under an entrepreneurial mindset, growing together and becoming the best we can be. Q.: Do you provide emergency off-hour services? A.: We proudly offer 24/7 call services for our patients. Patients of Zalatan Dental can call anytime and are promoted to click number 1 for Dr. Zalatan or click number 2 for Dr. Suy. The calls are forwarded immediately to the dentist’s personal cell phones so they receive your call-in real time. Q.: What are the age groups you typically see?

Zalatan A.: All ages from 1-99. Bringing in your child young is great to build positive experiences over time. When they get their first teeth, they can begin to come and meet us. Q.: Is staff involved in any on-going continuing education training programs or classes? A.: Yes, our team is always learning. Presently, our entire team is training with a management company that encourages self-development and personal growth. Jose, one of our assistants, is going to attend phlebotomy training to add advanced healing techniques to the office. All of our hygienists are trained in laser bacterial removal. Stephanie, our treatment coordinator, and Amy, lead assistant, recently trained in advanced medical coding. Dr. Suy and Dr. Zalatan do continuing education about once a month with Dr. Suy doing additional training to pursue advanced fellowships. One of our team agreements is to always strive to be better. Education and training are a huge part of that. Q.: Has the practice received any awards or special recognition? A.: Dr. Suy was a Top 3 dentist in last year’s Observer Dispatch “Best of the Best” competition, and we are hoping she places higher this year.

Zalatan Dental: Modern Dentist 2607 Genesee St., Utica, New York 13501 www.modern.dentist Page 16

Zalatan Dental: Modern Dentist is led by health care professionals that include, from left, Dr. Salina Suy, along with colleagues Amy and Leah.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2019

Spiritual Health Milk & Honey

By Brooke Stacia Demott

not willing.” (God is saddened by our rebellion.) “No one comes to the Father but by me.” (Jesus is the only way to be reconciled to God.) Everyone likes the humanitarian Jesus, but when we stop there, we miss purpose of his ministry. His astonishing, supernatural feats were intended to validate his teaching, … The reason I was born, and which had one chief end: to help us came into the world, is to testify understand the truth. to the truth. Everyone on the side With his words, Jesus exposes of truth listens to me,” said Jesus. the nature of the human condition. A “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. prostitute, a homosexual, and a lovWith this he went out … (John 18:37ing, married father who daydreams 40) about a Hollywood bombshell are all Relativism is a popular notion sexual sinners. The faithful churchgotoday, extending er and the thieving tax collector alike an invitation for fall equally short of God’s incompreeach of us to create hensible goodness. His aim isn’t to our own truth. incentivize us to scrub out our sins That may sound even harder with the same dirty rags, fun, but there’s a but to demonstrate that even our best catch: In a world efforts can’t come close to making us of infinite “truths,” holy enough for God. we have no choice That doesn’t sound very affirmbut to deny the ing. As a matter of fact, it sounds existence of lies, pretty hopeless — unless, of course, because without the most important truth turns out to truth, there can’t be Demott be some pretty good news. lies; without right, The proclamation Jesus made to takes a lot of work to navigate miladultery.” (Even if we never act on it, the world with his dying breath is by there is no wrong; and if nothing is lions of contradictory voices all assin is present in all of us.) objectively good, then nothing can be suring us that they have the answer. far the most wonderful truth of all: MP Order Propo “How difficult it is for the rich bad, either. “It is finished.” It’s just easier not to try. ad will appear at the classification of: of Heaven” to enter the Kingdom If right and wrong are a matter This — Validation: His self-sacrifice was sufficient We want to do of personal interpretation, then the to cover the sins of the whole world, what we want to do. If the truth chal- (Wealth can be a curse.) Rome NY “I tell you, my friends, do not be robber is equally validated in his and the cross lays a bridge between lenges our desires, then we might afraid of those who kill the body and this fallen creation and God’s perfect, claim to his neighbor’s property as havein to rethink ourDate behavior; and with Home 05/2014 after that can do no more. But I will his neighbor is. Justice ceases to exist, often, we aren’t prepared to do that. eternal kingdom. show you whom you should fear: because we have no base line with Jesus demonstrates that love isn’t Date: 17,wants 2014 Acct# A1ZGFE Sales Rep: GRIMALDI, JENNIFER L Size: HCN6 Ad Id: A — Fear:March Everyone to be Fear him who, after your body has which to correct error. opposed to truth; it’s saturated in it. liked, and if the truth isn’t popular, been killed, has authority to throw This is the epicenter of society’s Truth is his greatest expression then we run a serious risk of losing you into hell.” (God’s approval is problems. The lines between personof love. relationships if we affirm it. way more important than anyone al preference and objective truth are — Jesus, universally recognized else’s.) hopelessly blurred. • Brooke Stacia Demott is a columas the most influential religious “Jerusalem, who kills the prophSince truth is no longer recognist with In Good Health newspaper. Got leader in history, tells us that he came nized as unbiased fact, it’s wrongly a question for Demott? Feel free to email into the world predominately to testi- ets … how I have longed to gather you into my arms … but you were identified as a unit of measure on her at brooketo@aol.com. fy to the truth. the barometer of personal happiness. “The happier it makes me, the truer Just what is the truth? it must be!” Diabetes? What are some of Jesus’ truth Unfortunately, truth doesn’t answer to feelings. Gravity pulls objects claims? Flat Feet? “If your foot causes you to sin, to the earth regardless of our approvPlantar Fasciitis? cut it off. It’s better for you to enter al. Gender is written into our DNA as an objective reality, no matter how life crippled than to have two feet You may be eligible for shoes at little or no cost! and be thrown into eternal fire.” (Sin many body parts we amputate or is really serious.) contrary hormones we pump into “If a man even looks at a woman our systems. with lust in his heart, he is guilty of Truth draws a definitive line in the sand as deep as the universe, and no matter how many feelings we kick over it to smudge it out, it always manages to stay disconcertFOR THAT ingly visible. Manicures & SPECIAL Pedicures Pilate asked Jesus the most SOMEONE 40 Years Experience important question in history: “What is truth?” and didn’t even bother to IN-HOME stick around for the answer. Manicures & Pedicures Pilate clearly believed that truth was unknowable, and ironically, he Let me help you walked out on the only man in histowith your thick ry who could’ve ever made it known. The Pilates of today still cast that fungus toenails question into the air with hands upthrown, though it’s less a question than a statement. We shrug it off and relinquish ourselves to pragmatism, Gift doing whatever gets us through the Certificates day. We call it progressive; but really, Available we’ve stopped caring. What keeps us from caring? — Laziness: Let’s be honest; it

What is Truth?

This eternal question burns in the hearts, minds of all


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315-735-4521 315-735-4521

June 2019 •

AMZHMDNLM 14-Mar-2014 07:57

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Health News LFH president named outstanding professional The Genesis Group of the Mohawk Valley and the Medical Societies of Oneida, Herkimer, and Madison counties recently named Michael L. Ogden an outstanding health care professional at their annual Healthcare Recognition ceremony at Hart’s Hill Inn in Whitesboro. The award recognizes excellence in the workplace and community. Ogden, who has been with Little Falls Hospital, part of Bassett Healthcare Network, since 2009, is the president of LFH. In this role, Ogden is responsible for the finanOgden cial and strategic planning for LFH. He is a key liaison to the board of trustees, internal and external management, medical staff relations and Bassett Healthcare Network integration initiatives. In addition to his commitment to LFH, Ogden is on the boards of the American Heart Association, Hospice & Palliative Care Inc. and Central New York Area Health Education. He also serves as a member of the American Hospital Association Rural Governance Council and the Iroquois Healthcare Alliance Executive Council. He is active in Rotary and the Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce. “Mike’s role in health care leadership expands into the communities. He is active in numerous civic organizations and supportive of change to improve the lives of our citizens throughout the Mohawk Valley,” said Bassett Healthcare Network Regional Vice President of Finance James Vielkind.

Regional medical center taking shape The Mohawk Valley Health System recently began closing on properties within the footprint of the new, regional medical center in downtown Utica, and to date has closed on five properties. The owners of these properties had previously signed purchase option agreements with MVHS to sell their property. “We are extremely grateful to these property owners for working with us to transform health care in our region,” said Robert Scholefield, executive vice president/chief operating officer. “These individuals and businesses share our vision for a state-of-the-art regional medical center that is integral to the new vision for downtown Utica and health care in our region.” For the past two years, MVHS and its partners have been working with local property owners to purchase buildings and land that will make way for the regional medical center. They have also been helping Page 18

in Upstate New York communities, serving on several community boards. Gorecki has more than 30 years of health care and finance experience with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Cigna and Blue Shield California. He joined Excellus BCBS in 2014 as senior vice president of finance. He led and supported collaborative efforts Gorecki to improve medical expense trend projections and accuracy, achieve company-wide administrative efficiencies, achieve improvements in underwriting practices, and improve the accuracy of budgeting and forecasting. “Under Chris’ leadership, our business has become more predictable as well as more agile, quicker to identify and respond to unforeseen changes,” said Chris Booth, Excellus president and CEO.

Rome Memorial awards clinicians for excellence, commitment to patients In recognition of National Nurses’ Week and members of Rome Memorial Hospital’s clinical services division, RMH’s clinical services professional excellence committee presented the 2019 Excellence Awards to individuals who exemplify excellence and commitment to the health and wellness of the community. These professionals are honored for their caring attitude toward patients, superior clinical skills, and critical thinking ability. Celebrating the awards are, seated from left, Tasha Seymour, RN, intensive care unit, critical care-intensive care unit nurse of the year; Allison Jennings, continuum of care services case manager of the year; and Danielle Mudge, RN, maternity, maternal child care nurse of the year and nurse of excellence; standing from left, Russell White, LPN, Residential Health Care Facility, long-term care licensed practical nurse of the year; Ellen Hilts, Residential Health Care Facility, long-term care certified nurse assistant of the year; Dzenita Kajtaz, RN, progressive care unit, progressive care nursing services nurse of the year; Rachel Nadeau, RN, emergency department, Nightingale nurse award; Megan Palczynski, progressive care unit, non-licensed clinical services nurse of the year; and Amanda Ingham, RN, emergency department, emergency services nurse of the year. the local businesses find alternative locations within Utica: HJ Brandeles Corp. has relocated to Judd Road and Resource Center for Independent Living is in the process of relocating to the old Boston Building in downtown Utica. Park Outdoor Advertising of New York is moving its offices from 514/524 Lafayette St. in Utica to 2429 Chenango Road. “While moving our business from its current location was not in our immediate plans, we could see the positive impact the new medical center would have on our community and felt we could contribute by relocating within the city of Utica,” said Matt Stubley, vice president-general manager of Park Outdoor Advertising. “We found an excellent new location in which to grow, and we will actually be adding a new full-time employee. Staying within the city of Utica while contributing to this transformational project is very exciting for Park Outdoor and our

employees.” After a property closing is completed, MVHS and its contracted partners will begin the process of abatement of hazardous materials within that site if those substances are found to be present. Once abatement is completed, the buildings will be razed so that construction can begin, which is slated for late 2019.

Excellus features new chief financial officer Christopher Gorecki, senior vice president of finance for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, will succeed Dorothy Coleman as the health plan’s executive vice president and chief financial officer effective July 1. Coleman has accepted a position with one of the largest health plans in the BlueCross BlueShield system and will be leaving the organization at the end of June. She joined Excellus BCBS in 2011 and has been actively involved

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2019

Excellus BCBS awards hospitals $25.7 million Thirty-six Upstate New York hospitals and health centers last year earned $25.7 million in quality improvement payments from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield as part of the nonprofit health insurer’s performance incentive program. Since 2005, Excellus BCBS’s program has paid out more than $282 million in quality improvement incentives. “When a health insurer collaborates with health care providers, as we are doing with this hospital quality program, health outcomes improve, and incentives are fully aligned for the communities we jointly serve,” said Carrie Whitcher, Excellus BCBS vice president health care improvement. Eight hospitals in the UticaRome-North Country region participated in this program in 2018, sharing $1 million in quality improvement incentive payments. Participating hospitals included Adirondack Medical Center, Bassett Medical Center, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare, Oneida Healthcare, Rome Memorial Hospital, Samaritan Medical Center and St. Elizabeth Medical Center. In addition to achieving required clinical and patient safety measures in 2018, other nationally endorsed measures and target outcomes were jointly agreed upon by each hospital and the health insurer using benchmarks established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and others. Areas targeted for 2018 improvement included: — Clinical processes of care: Focused on improvements in diabe-

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Health News Continued from Page 18 tes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, and surgical care, and other measures that may be unique to each participating hospital — Patient safety: Centered on reductions in hospital-acquired infections, readmissions, and other adverse events or errors that affect patient care — Patient satisfaction: Used the hospital consumer assessment of healthcare providers and systems survey, which is a national, standardized, publicly reported survey of patients’ perspectives of hospital care.

Funds raised support new vision center The Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Utica recently raised $1,057,908 as a match to a $500,000 challenge issued in 2018 by The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties. The funds help support construction of an $8 million, state-of-the-art vision rehabilitation center in Utica, a part of CABVI’s $14.1 million Focus on the Future Initiative. “To declare that ‘Central New York came through in a big way’ would be an understatement,” said Rudy D’Amico, president-CEO of CABVI. “CABVI raised over $1 million to meet the $500,000 challenge — the largest challenge grant in The Community Foundation’s history. I am proud that CABVI’s supporters,

which included many of The Community Foundation’s fund-holders, exceeded the goal.” “We hoped to inspire community members to support the mission and vision of CABVI and the work they are doing to transform our community. The final result is overwhelming,” said Alicia Dicks, president-CEO of The Community Foundation. “CABVI continues to advance opportunities for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, from early intervention through services for seniors, in innovative ways that also promote economic development and neighborhood revitalization,” said Dicks. The $500,000 challenge is one component of CABVI’s Focus on the Future Initiative thath has three major components: — Construction of a 23,000-square-foot vision and wellness center in Utica — Renovations to CABVI’s headquarters in Utica — Purchase and renovation of a building for CABVI Syracuse Industries in DeWitt CABVI is within $250,000 from achieving the Focus on the Future goal. Visit www.cabvi.org to learn more about the Focus on the Future Initiative and to make a gift.

Community Memorial launches Women’s Services Community Memorial recently launched Women’s Health Services

s d i K Corner

Can medical marijuana help kids with autism?


edical marijuana extracts appear to help children with autism, reducing their disruptive behavior while improving their social responsiveness, a new Israeli clinical trial reports. Kids treated with either a wholeplant cannabis extract or a pure combination of cannabidiol (CBD) and THC experienced a significant improvement in their symptoms, compared with a control group given a placebo, researchers said. But parents of kids with autism should still wait for more data before trying to treat them with medical marijuana, warned lead researcher Adi Aran, director of the pediatric neurology unit at Shaare

Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. “Thousands of parents already are treating their kids with cannabis based on rumors of this study,” the physician said. “I don’t want it to be even more.” For the study, 150 children with autism were put in one of three groups. One group received a placebo, another was treated with a whole-plant extract of marijuana, and the third received a pure blend of CBD and THC at a 20-to-1 ratio. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the compound that produces intoxication when one uses marijuana. CBD is a compound in marijuana that does not produce intoxication, but does appear to interact with

at the Hamilton hospital and family health centers. This is a new, coordinated effort to address a woman’s health at any age. “All women need a general health checkup each year” said Jocelyn M. Morin, primary care physician at the Cazenovia Family Health Center. The checkup frequently referred to as the “well-woman visit” can help find problems Morin early or prevent health problems before they occur, she noted. The effort connects women’s care across service lines including reproductive health, breast exams, mammography, bone density screenings, menopause health, cardiovascular, heartburn and digestive health. “Community Memorial is here for women at every step on their health journey. We understand the unique needs of women in our community and offer a variety of specialized and seamless services to assist them in living an active and healthy life,” added president and CEO Sean Fadale. To find more information about women’s health services or to schedule a “well-woman visit,” log on to https://www.communitymemorial. org or call 315-824-4600.

cannabinoid receptors in the brain. One CBD-based product, Epidiolex, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in treating epilepsy. CBD has been shown to help anxiety in several studies, so researchers thought it might aid in treating behavioral problems in kids with autism, Aran said. These include acting out and violence towards others. The THC was included in the pure blend because “we believe the THC might be important for improving the social deficits as well,” Aran said. “THC is known to impact the social area.” The whole-plant extract included not only CBD and THC, but many other compounds also found in cannabis, Aran said. The kids were treated for two four-week periods, with a four-week break in the middle. Kids taking a cannabis extract improved 49% and 53% on two scales in which doctors and parents measure autism symptoms and disruptive behavior. That compared to 21% and 44% improvement, respectively, in kids on the placebo. The children treated with marijuana also showed 50% improvement on a scale that tracks core autism symptoms, compared with 22% for kids taking the placebo. However, children treated with

June 2019 •

CMH progeram enhances patient experience Leadership at Community Memorial Hospital announced the next generation, patient experience initiative recently called “NO PASS ZONE.” The “NO PASS ZONE” is one of many “iCare for 5 Stars” initiatives launched by CMH. The “NO PASS ZONE” promotes a quick and effective response to patient’s needs. Employees, clinical and non-clinical personnel are reminded that caring for the patient is everyone’s responsibility. For example, anyone can respond to a blinking patient call light. “We encourage and train all staff not to pass by a patient room if someone needs help, but to stop and assist. Every call bell represents a ‘light’ or an opportunity to meet our patient’s needs. So, if you see the blinking light, make it right,” said Diana VanAlthuis, nurse manager for Med-Surg SCU. The “NO PASS ZONE” was launched for staff through an educational in-service and a demonstration video, and new staff is introduced to the “NO PASS ZONE” during orientation. “Our staff is ‘iCare for 5 Stars’ team players. They treat our patients like they are family members and the “NO PASS ZONE” initiative raises the bar for patient care,” said Sean

Continued on Page 20

marijuana were more likely to suffer from decreased appetite, sleepiness and disturbed sleep. Simon Baron-Cohen is president of the International Society for Autism Research, and reviewed the study. “From the brief information, we must advise those considering this as a form of treatment to use caution, given the report of significant rates of unwanted side effects,” he said. Researchers plan a follow-up clinical trial that will include more children from different countries, Aran said. He cautioned against becoming too excited about this potential therapy. “It’s not a miracle treatment,” Aran said. “It might be another tool in our toolbox.”

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Health News Continued from Page 19 Fadale, president, and CEO of CMH. This is not the first initiative Community Memorial has implemented to enhance the patient experience. Other initiatives include hourly rounding by medical staff, quiet hour everyday beginning at 3 p.m., and re-designing discharge folders. Community Memorial earned the only five-star rating in August 2018 for patient satisfaction in New York state from The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services based on results from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey covering patient discharges from Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2017. HCAHPS is a standardized survey of patients (post-discharge) and their perspectives on the care they received during their recent hospital stay.

CMH launches colorectal screening program Community Memorial Hospital in Hamilton and its five family health centers are launching a new initiative, “Protect Your Bottom Line.” This is a humorous approach on the importance of screening and early detection of colorectal cancer, the second-most common cause of cancer deaths in the United States. “Colorectal cancer can be deadly, but it is preventable and treatable, if detected early with a colonoscopy. Our goal is to help people understand the importance of the screening and make it easier for them by alleviating any fear and embarrassment barriers,” says Dennis Blom, fellowship-trained surgeon from CMH Center for Heartburn and Digestive Disorders. A colonoscopy is a painless, outpatient procedure that takes less than 25 minutes. The procedure tests for and can prevent cancer of the colon. During the test, a doctor examines the entire lining of the colon with a flexible instrument called a colonoscope that can take biopsies and remove polyps, which are tested. Most polyps are benign. The American Cancer Society reports more than 148,000 Americans were diagnosed with colorectal cancer last year, and more than 49,000 died from the disease. Colonoscopies are recommended for everyone over 50, but less than half of all Americans aged 50 or older have had a recent screening test. People with a family history of colon cancer should begin screenings earlier and tested more frequently. Embarrassment and discomfort are not reasons to avoid a colonoscopy. Early detection of colorectal cancer is critical. The removal of pre-cancerous polyps during a colonoscopy can prevent cancer from ever starting, and cancers found early can be treated effectively. For information or to schedule a colonoscopy at CMH, call 315-6843117. Page 20

as a surgeon, Cesare recognized a need for comprehensive breast care services for women in the community. To fulfill this medical need, Cesare initiated the development of Slocum-Dickson’s Breast Care Center. In 2005, the Breast Care Center opened its doors with Cesare as the director. The center has continued to thrive under his leadership. Cesare has also contributed to the group serving as a member of the board of managers since 2015. His new role as president will see him taking on even more administrative responsibilities. Cesare will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the organization to ensure that the group’s high-quality standards are maintained and patients have the best possible experience while receiving care.

Little Falls Hospital issues inaugural ‘Zero Harm Hero’ award Jennifer Mitchell, RN, team leader in the inpatient department at Little Falls Hospital, is the recipient of the first Zero Harm Hero award. Mitchell has been with LFH since 2017. The award was created to help promote a strong culture of quality, safety and patient satisfaction, ensuring high reliability care for patients, staff and visitors. “The award recognizes any LFH employee who demonstrates a commitment to this work,” said Michael Ogden, president of LFH. Helping to celebrate the occasion are, from left, Jessica Mercado, Mitchell, Stephanie Pope, Allana Richards, Eunice Bond and Michael Paul.

Slocum-Dickson Medical Group names new CEO Richard (Rick) Wilson is the new chief executive officer at Slocum-Dickson Medical Group in New Hartford. Wilson is a long-time resident of the Mohawk Valley with extensive experience in the health care field. He is a graduate of Syracuse University with a master’s degree in administration and management. He served as president and CEO of Sitrin Health Care CenWilson ter for more than 27 years, followed by a five-year period as vice president of strategic development. His expertise lies in the areas of business development and operations. At SDMG, under the direction of the president and board of managers, Wilson will lead the organization in maintaining a path toward strategic development and innovation that will re-enforce its role as one of the area’s premier health care organizations. As CEO, he will be responsible for representing the group, supporting its mission, and providing a channel of communication to strengthen relationships within the organization and the community at large.

Slocum-Dickson names new board president James Cesare was recently named president of the board of managers at Slocum-Dickson Medical Group in New Hartford. Cesare has been practicing medicine at SDMG for more than 27 years. He began his career as a surgeon after completing his residency and internship at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Cesare Conn. He completed his undergraduate degree at Harvard University and his medical degree at Boston University School of Medicine. After spending several years

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2019

UFCW Local One stamps out hunger UFCW Local One, which represents 2,000 members in Utica, held an event recently at Chanatry’s Hometown Market to collect non-perishable food for the Stamp Out Hunger food drive. Stamp Out Hunger is the largest single-day food drive in the country, and the UFCW is a national, premier sponsor of the event, in partnership with the National Association of Letter Carriers. UFCW Local One and the Central New York Labor Council came together to sponsor a food drive in an effort to Stamp Out Hunger on May 11. Chanatry’s Hometown Market, a family owned grocery store, hosted the event. Chanatry’s is also the official union store. More than 730 pounds of non-perishable food items were collected, thanks to the generosity of union members, their families, and the community. These items will be donated to area food pantries in hopes to eradicate hunger in Utica. “Every day, 49 million Americans suffer from food insecurity. As a union that represents grocery stores, food processing and meat packing plants, we see this firsthand. We want to do our part in helping our friends and neighbors put food on the table because no hardworking family should have to struggle alone,” said UFCW Local One President Frank DeRiso, international vice president, president, UFCW Local One.

Don’t miss the July edition of In Good Health Special issue highlighting women’s health, weight loss, summer safety, and blood pressure

Excellus BCBS looking for owners of unclaimed funds

Dental Health Smile with Dr. Suy

By Dr. Salina Suy

Defining Dentistry: M What are clear aligners? Editor’s note: This is another segment in a continuing series titled, “Defining Dentistry,” designed to enlighten readers on various components of dentistry.


appy June everyone!! June means true summertime here in the Mohawk Valley and it also means my wedding festivities begin! For those of you who don’t know, Al and I are getting married in August. June is the month of my bridal shower and bachelorette party — so exciting! What does Suy June mean for you? Thank you again for joining in on this month’s “Smile with Dr. Suy” column and our continuing series, “Defining Dentistry.” This month’s column explores the elusive clear aligner.

What are clear aligners?

Clear aligners are clear orthodontic “appliances” that are utilized in dentistry to straighten teeth. They are made of a clear material that is made perfectly to your teeth as they change from one step to the next. They are virtually invisible and have opened the doors for more patients to receive this great care.

How do clear aligners work?

Just like regular braces, aligners are designed to move teeth a little at a time. Unique sets of clear aligners are made special for each phase of your treatment; each phase is usually worn for one to three weeks depending on your treatment. All you do it place them in your mouth and go! Before you begin treatment, your teeth should be free of all cavities and regular check ups with your dentist are recommended. Clear aligners are not suitable for everyone; regular metal braces may be necessary for certain kinds of treatments.

How do I get clear aligners?

The process starts with a simple consultation. Call to schedule an appointment with your dentist for a clear aligner consult. During your consult, your dentist will examine you clinically, talk with you and discuss your treatment plan. Other diagnostic records include X-rays, clinical images and digital scans or captured impressions.

Typically, there is an initial diagnos done to determine if you are a candidate. After all of the records are placed together, you should return to your dentist and confirm your treatment plan. Sometimes, some tooth filing may need to be done to make room for treatment. This allows proper movement into the desired positions. Clear aligners are a great service. I actually just finished my own treatment in time for our wedding. I am so happy and glad I stuck to it. If your dentist does not do clear aligners, feel free to call me at Zalatan Dental.

Tips, tricks for patients with clear aligners

As someone who just finished a case on myself, here are a few tips and tricks for the clear aligner patient: — Do not do this alone — The online scam of DIY clear aligners has hit the population hard. It is an insult to the proper care a professional provides and is a gamble on oral health being that you are not being regularly monitored in person. — Wear at least 22 hours a day, taking it out to only eat. The more it is in your mouth, the more it works. — Brush and floss in between taking the aligners in and out. Not doing proper hygiene can increase cavity risk since the aligners can act as traps to harbor bacteria. — Brush the aligners, too. I hope this column has helped answer any questions on braces and the many ways to straighten your teeth. As always, thank you for joining me in this month’s education series and hopefully we will learn more together next month. Please feel free to contact me with questions and comments! Have some questions to ask me in person? Call for a free consultation. I look forward to meeting you! • Dr. Salina Suy is a health and wellness advocate and general dentist in Utica. Want to learn more? Visit Facebook @smilewithdrsuy or www.smilewithdrsuy.com.

ore than 10,960 individuals and companies in New York state have not cashed more than $1.77 million in checks issued by Excellus Health Plan, including by its d.b.a., Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. This isn’t money left in their pockets, but is in the form of unclaimed checks issued in 2015 to members and providers. Notifications were mailed to all individuals advising of unclaimed funds due to them. A complete list of names of people and companies with checks to claim is available on the company’s website at ExcellusBCBS. com/UnclaimedFunds. Every year, the state requires insurers like Excellus BCBS to make a list of unclaimed checks that are at least three years old. The names are then placed in advertisements in local papers in an attempt to find the people who have money to claim. If the property is not claimed by August, the money is then turned over to the comptroller of the state of New York. “This is money that was paid for claims or refunded premiums. If the money remains unclaimed, it will go to the state,” said Christopher C. Booth, Excellus BCBS president and

chief executive officer. “It rightfully belongs to our members or providers and we want to make sure they have one more chance to claim it before it goes to the state.” Most of the funds that have yet to be redeemed were allocated to Excellus BCBS members and providers. Checks may not have been cashed for a number of reasons. The member may have moved and not left a forwarding address, a member may have died, or the member simply forgot about the money. To claim a check prior to Aug. 1, return the form that Excellus BCBS mailed to you as soon as possible. If you did not receive the form: — Go to the Excellus BCBS website at ExcellusBCBS.com or click HERE to search for your name and address. — If you are listed on the site, download and complete the form available on the page. — If you have moved to a new address or if you are calling on behalf of the estate of a family member, and do not have Internet access, call Excellus BCBS at 1-800-499-1275 Responses must be received by Aug. 1. It will take up to 90 days for processing.

Annual Miracle Drawing kicks off


he Mohawk Valley Health System Foundation, in partnership with WKTV NewsChannel 2, The Observer-Dispatch and PJ Green, announce the start of the 23rd annual $100,000 Miracle Drawing to benefit the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at MVHS. One lucky person will win $100,000 in cash. Tickets are on sale now. A maximum of 4,300 tickets are available. Bonus prizes will also be given away. Tickets may be purchased for $100 by cash or check at one of our participating ticket locations. Participating ticket locations include AmeriCU Credit Union locations, the MVHS Boonville Medical Office, Chanatry’s Hometown Market, Countryside Stove & Chimney, MVHS’ St. Luke’s, St. Elizabeth and Faxton campuses, GPO Federal Credit Union locations, Jay-K Independent Lumber Corp., Remington Federal Credit Union and Special Metals Federal Credit Union. For the past two decades, the $100,000 Miracle Drawing has helped create miracles for the children of the community and raised more than $5.2 million to benefit women’s and children’s services at MVHS. The drawing will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 16 at the St. Luke’s Campus in New Hartford.

2019 Miracle Child

Blake, 4, spent time recovering at the pediatric unit at the St. Luke’s Campus after having surgery.

June 2019 •

Blake During his time there, Blake received care from staff, including a child life specialist whose position is funded through CMN. Child life professionals help infants, children, youth and families cope with the stress and uncertainty of illness, injury and treatment. They help reduce fear, anxiety and pain through therapeutic play, preparation and education. For more information or to purchase a ticket, call the MVHS Foundation at 315-624-5600.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 21


Health care in a Minute


Got a health-related activity or event that you would like publicized? Call Lou Sorendo at 315-749-7070 or email lou@cnymail.com.

By George W. Chapman

Medicare for all?

Universal health care becomes hot-button topic


hanks in large part to Vermont senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, “Medicare For All” — or universal health care — has become a hotly debated topic for the 2020 campaign. Detractors and skeptics have focused primarily on its impact on taxes. But here’s some food for thought as the debate rages on. U.S. taxes on wages and income are relatively low when compared to countries that have their own versions of Medicare for all. Our system of taxation is a “progressive” system whereby wealthiest pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than middleand lower-class taxpayers. Unlike workers in England, France, Germany, Sweden, Finland and Canada, who are covered by universal care, American workers have health insurance contributions/ responsibilities deducted directly from their paychecks. Out-of-pocket expenses like deductibles and copays are in addition to what is deducted from pay. So, unlike taxes on wages, health care premiums are not progressive. The lowest and middle wage earners pay the same per month as the highest wage earners. Consequently, the lower your wage or income, the higher your health care premium as a percentage of income. For example, a U.S. worker earning $43,000 a year pays an average of 37% in both taxes and health premiums. In high tax Finland, at the same earnings, a worker pays 23% in taxes which includes health care. Moving toward a universal system would make health care costs more “progressive” for most Americans. No matter where you stand in this debate, health care “premiums” must be considered as a “tax” already being paid by the American worker.

Health care drug fraud

The Department of Justice recently convicted Phillip Esformes, a Florida skilled nursing facility owner, of over $1.3 billion in fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid. Patients were referred to his shabby facilities where they received inadequate or unnecessary treatment. He bribed both physicians and regulators in order to defraud. He was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, kickbacks, money laundering and obstruction of justice. This is the largest health care fraud scheme to date. In another fraud case, drug manufacturer Questor, recently acquired by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, is accused of bribing physicians to unnecessarily prescribe “H.P. Acthar Gel,” which treats infant seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. The price per vial went from $40 in Page 22

2000 to $39,000 today. If you’re doing the math, that’s a 97,000% increase. Medicare alone has spent $2 billion on the gel over the last several years. This was a whistleblower case. The “fraud police” only get involved in these cases when they are fairly certain of success. If convicted, Mallinckrodt would have to pay back what was deceitfully billed plus another $5,500 to $11,000 per false claim.

Opioid strike force

In a continuing crackdown on illegal prescribing, the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force charged 60 defendants for crimes related to the illicit distribution of millions of opioids in Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and Alabama. Among the accused are 31 physicians, seven pharmacists and eight nurse practitioners. One pharmacy in Dayton, Ohio, dispensed over 1.75 million pills. A physician in Kentucky left presigned, blank prescriptions with his office staff so they could continue the illicit scheme when he was absent. A physician in Tennessee — self-described as the “Rock Doc” — literally prescribed over 1.5 million pills. Not to be outdone, another physician in Tennessee prescribed over 4.2 million opioids.

Primary care spending low

A basic tenet of health care is that primary care management improves overall health outcomes and lowers costs. Researchers at the RAND Corporation studied 16 million Medicare claims and found that primary care accounts for less than 5% of total Medicare spending on physicians, hospitals/facilities, supplies and drugs. For the study, “primary care” included family practitioners, internists, gynecologists, geriatricians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Clearly, there is plenty of room for more investment in primary care. One way is to pay providers more for primary care services which would encourage more medical students to specialize in primary care. George W. Chapman is a healthcare business consultant who works exclusively with physicians, hospitals and healthcare organizations. He operates GW Chapman Consulting based in Syracuse. Email him at gwc@gwchapmanconsulting.com.


June 13

Food Addicts in Recovery Laryngectomy support to meet group to meet Food Addicts in Recovery holds an anonymous meeting from 6:308 p.m. Mondays at Trinity United Methodist Church, 8595 Westmoreland Road, Whitesboro. For more information, call Helen at 315-794-2314.


Insight House offers family support group Insight House Chemical Dependency Services, Inc. is offering a family support group meeting from 6:15-7:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Insight House, 500 Whitesboro St., Utica. The group is free and open to anyone who is concerned about a loved one’s relationship with alcohol, opiates or other substances. For more information about the group, call 724-5168, ext. 265, from 8:30-4 p.m. weekdays. All calls are strictly confidential.


Loved one on drugs? There is support CNY Services Milestones is featuring a support group for anyone dealing with another person’s drug and/or alcohol addiction. The support group meets at 6 p.m. Thursdays at 502 Court St., Suite 210, Utica. The support group is free and open to those struggling with a child, partner, wife, husband, mother, father or friend who is battling addiction. For more information, call Tony at 315-717-9153.

June 5

Narcan training classes available In response to the influx of overdoses in the local community, Insight House will be offering free community Narcan training classes on a bi-weekly basis. Classes will be held from 2-3 p.m. on the first and last Wednesday of every month at 500 Whitesboro St. The next sessions will take place on June 5 and June 26. Space is limited and preregistration is recommended by calling 315-724-5168 ext. 238.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2019

Story idea? Call 315-749-7070

The Laryngectomy Support Group will hold its monthly meeting at noon June 13 in the Sister Regina Conference Room on the first floor of the St. Elizabeth Medical Center hospital building, 2209 Genesee St., Utica. The support group is sponsored by SEMC. Laryngectomy support group meetings are held at noon on the second Thursday of each month. A laryngectomy is the procedure to remove a person’s larynx and separates the airway from the mouth, nose and esophagus. The laryngectomee breathes through an opening in the neck, called a stoma. The public is welcome to attend. Those with questions can call the speech therapy department at 315801-4475.

June 14

Breastfeeding Café opens at Rome Memorial The Mohawk Valley Breastfeeding Network, in partnership with Rome Memorial Hospital, has opened a new Breastfeeding Café to provide pregnant and breastfeeding moms and their families a place to support one another, socialize and get breastfeeding clinical support if needed. The group meets from noon to 2 p.m. on the second and fourth Fridays of the month at Rome Memorial Hospital, fourth floor, 1500 N. James St. The next meetings will be on June 14 and June 28. There is no cost to participate and mothers can bring their babies to be weighed at the hospital’s “Weighto-Go” station. Snacks will be provided. Dads and grandparents are welcome. For more information, contact Laurie Hoke in RMH’s maternity department at 315-338-7291. You can find meeting announcements on Breastfeeding Café and Rome Memorial Hospital Facebook pages.

June 10

Support forum for patients, cancer survivors The Mohawk Valley Health System’s Cancer Center’s monthly support forum for patients and cancer survivors will be held at 6 p.m. June 10. The cancer support forum meets at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of every month in the Cancer Center’s

Continued on Page 23



Got a health-related activity or event that you would like publicized? Call Lou Sorendo at 315-749-7070 or email lou@cnymail.com. Continued from Page 22 fireplace lounge on the main floor of Faxton Campus, 1676 Sunset Ave., Utica. The forum, led by the Cancer Center’s social worker, offers support to anyone who has received a cancer diagnosis. Light refreshments will be served. For more information or to RSVP, call 315-624-5241.

June 10

Support group to meet at Rome Memorial Hospital The brain aneurysm, AVM (arteriovenous malformation) and stroke support group will meet from 5:307:30 p.m. June 10 at Rome Memorial Hospital’s second-floor classroom. The group meets on the second Monday of every month. RMH is located at 1500 N. James St., Rome. For more information, call Deb Dunn at 315-533-6467 or email RomeNY@JoeNiekroFoundation.org.

June 19

Valley Health Services accepts syringes Valley Health Services is accepting the community’s medical waste of needles, syringes and lancets from noon until 2 p.m. on June 19. The service is available on the third Wednesday of every month. The waste must be in approved puncture-resistant containers available at local pharmacies and properly marked “biohazard.” The containers may be brought to the outpatient receptionist on the ground floor at VHS, who will contact the personnel responsible for medical waste disposal. VHS is located at 690 W. German St., Herkimer. Questions may be directed to Tammi King, infection control nurse, at 866-3330, ext. 2308.

June 20

VRS schedules open house Valley Residential Services, the first enriched housing and assisted living facility in Herkimer County, will feature an open house from 4-6 p.m. June 20 at the facility located at 323 Pine Grove Road, Herkimer. Its new expansion project has added 14 one-bedroom apartments, large enough for couples, and also a fully staffed wellness and fitness center. For more information or to RSVP to any of the open house dates, contact Christine Shepardson, director of community life, at 315-219-5700 ext.


June 15

Family support group focuses on addiction Families who are dealing with the problems of addiction can find help and information at a support group meeting from 6-7 p.m. June 15 in the second floor classroom at Rome Memorial Hospital. The group meets the third Monday of each month and is free and open to everyone. Offered by the hospital’s Community Recovery Center, the support group provides an opportunity to discuss issues with others who are in the same situation. Certified by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, the Community Recovery Center, 264 W. Dominick St., Rome, offers alcohol and substance abuse treatment for adolescents and adults. Open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Friday and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, the center participates with most major insurance programs, including Medicare and Medicaid. A sliding scale fee is available for self-pay clients. For more information about the support group or the Community Recovery Center, call 334-4701.

June 6

Rabies vaccination clinics scheduled The Oneida County Health Department is scheduling rabies vaccination clinics throughout the year. The next clinic is set for 5-6:30 p.m. July 1 at Boonville Fairgrounds. Clinics are also scheduled for: — July 25: Rome Kennedy Arena, 6-7:30 p.m. — Aug. 5: Vienna Highway Garage, 5-6:30 p.m. — Sept. 10: Back to Basics Dog Obedience, Forestport, 6-7:30 p.m. Dogs need to be on a leash, and cats need to be in a carrier or laundry basket. All cats, dogs and ferrets 3 months or older must have a current rabies vaccination, even if they stay indoors. Dogs and cats need to be vaccinated at 3 months old, 1 year, and the once every three years. Ferrets must be vaccinated every year. Pets will receive a one-year certificate if no prior proof of rabies is shown. A $10 donation per pet is requested to help cover costs. Pre-register for clinic dates by calling 315-798-5064.

Subscription? Call 315-749-7070!

June 17

Registration open for Mike Martin golf tournament Registration is open for the 2019 Mike Martin Memorial Golf Tournament. Again, the Community Memorial Foundation hosts the event, which will be held on June 17 to benefit Community Memorial. Proceeds from the event enable Community Memorial to purchase furnishings for the recently renovated and expanded Hamilton Family Health Center. Approximately 120 golfers will play the challenging Colgate University Seven Oaks Golf Course in Hamilton. The entry fee for a foursome is $940 and individuals $235. Fees include a golf cart, premium golfer gifts, lunch, and an awards dinner at the Colgate Inn. Register at https://www.communitymemorial.org/golf-tournament/ or call the foundation office 315-824-7037. This year marks the fourth year for the event named to remember Martin, a long-time and dedicated volunteer lost to the community in October 2016. Deeply committed to the Hamilton area, Martin served on the board of the Community Memorial Foundation and chaired the tournament in its successful inaugural year.

July 13

edge and practice, both mother and baby can learn how to successfully breastfeed. Rome Memorial Hospital will be featuring classes where parents-to-be can learn about their baby’s nutritional needs, feeding by breast or bottle and other hand-feeding methods. All are welcome to attend regardless of feeding choice. International board-certified lactation specialist Amanda Huey N, IBCLC will lead the free class. Classes will be offered from 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays on July 13, Sept. 14 and Nov. 9. Classes will be held in the hospital’s second floor classroom. No registration is required. For more information, call the education department at 315-338-7143.

July 17

Parents: Learn baby care basics Parents-to-be can learn about childbirth, newborns and other related topics by attending Baby Care Basics, a two-hour program taught by Rome Memorial Hospital maternity nurse Michelle Bates. Classes are available from 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays on July 17, Sept. 25 and Nov. 6, and from 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays on July 13, Sept. 7 and Nov. 16 in the hospital’s classroom. The program is free and no advance registration is required. Call 315-338-7143 for more information.

Class focuses on feeding newborn Human milk is the best possible nutrition for your baby. With knowl-

Health in good

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EMPLOYMENT Advertise your health-related services or products and reach potential customers throughout the Mohawk Valley for as little as $90 a month. Call 749-7070 for more info.

DRIVERS WANTED We’re looking for dependable people to help us distribute copies of In Good Health, Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper, in offices and other high traffic locations in the Utica-Rome-Clinton region. Great for active retirees or at-home moms in need of some extra cash. Work only one or two days a month during office hours (9 to 5). Compensation: $11.10/h plus 30 cents per mile. It amounts to about $150 per distribution.The paper is usually distributed at the beginning of the month. Drivers pick up the papers (in bundles of 100 copies) in North Utica and leave copies at various locations, following a list of places we provide. No heavy lifting. Drivers are required to have a dependable vehicle, be courteous and reliable. We audit all areas of distribution.

Call 315-749-7070 and ask for Nancy for more information. June 2019 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 23

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2019

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